By Dr. Laura Kearney
What is Tooth Enamel?
Tooth enamel acts as an outer layer to help protect your teeth from mechanical, thermal, and chemical insults. As time goes on, your teeth are worn down from the different items you consume, oral habits, and also from normal wear and tear.
What Causes Tooth Enamel to Erode?
There are several potential causes that lead to tooth enamel erosion. These include drinking excessive amounts of sodas, energy drinks, or high acidity fruit drinks. Foods with high amounts of sugar and acidity, clenching and/or grinding, and using a hard or medium bristled toothbrush can also cause your teeth’s enamel to erode.
How Can I Protect My Teeth from Erosion?
Keeping your teeth healthy and preventing enamel erosion is important for oral health. Tooth erosion can cause temperature sensitivity, tooth color changes, tooth transparency, cracks in the teeth, and ultimately tooth loss.
To prevent erosion from occurring, make sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft toothbrush and also to floss your teeth regularly. You should keep up to date on your dental checkups by visiting your dentist every 6 months. Your dentist will be able to assess your teeth for any erosion damage and provide a treatment plan for any issues found. You can prevent erosion by reducing the amount of drinks or foods that you intake with high amounts of acidity such as oranges, lemons, sugar, sodas, or sweetened drinks, just to name a few! If you like to chew gum often, opt for gum that lists xylitol as an ingredient. Xylitol is a natural sugar substitute that is healthier for your teeth than regular sugar. You can also try using a prescription toothpaste that includes fluoride. Fluoride helps to prevent the formation of cavities and also makes hyper-sensitive teeth less sensitive. Commercial toothpastes have a small concentration of fluoride added, however this is sometimes not enough to significantly strengthen teeth.
Is There Treatment For Tooth Enamel Erosion?
There are treatments to protect your teeth from future erosion. Depending on the amount of enamel loss, treatment plans will vary. Treatment will include proper oral hygiene instructions and proper diet counseling. Treatment could include the fabrication of a protective occlusal guard and possibly restorative dentistry such as adding a crown to your tooth. Dental crowns are added to cracked or worn teeth to help restore tooth strength. Discuss treatment plans with your dentist.