What’s Wearing Down Your Smile? Causes and Solutions for Dental Erosion
February 19, 2020
Enamel is the all-important defense system for your teeth, keeping them safe from the forces of biting and chewing as well as attacks from oral bacteria. Unfortunately, despite its strength, it has a rather severe weakness: it can’t repair itself once it has been broken, meaning it’s gone for good. This makes tooth enamel erosion (which can lead to infections and fractures) particularly dangerous for your dental health – meaning you need to avoid it at all cost! Read on to learn about the different causes behind tooth enamel erosion and how you can avoid them.
What Causes Tooth Enamel Erosion?
Many of the foods and drinks you consume are acidic, and as a result they can soften your teeth briefly, causing them to lose some of the minerals that make up the enamel. Also, eating too much sugar causes oral bacteria to produce acid, leading to similar damage. While your saliva will normally cancel out this damage and encourage the teeth to remineralize, your mouth won’t have a chance to repair itself if the acid attacks occur too often.
Sometimes the acid might come from your own body instead. If you suffer from gastro-esophageal reflux, acids from your stomach may come up into your mouth, affecting the backs of your teeth. Any condition that causes you to vomit frequently will also lead to issues since vomit tends to be highly acidic.
Your enamel can also be worn down mechanically. Frequent clenching and grinding of the teeth, brushing too hard, and biting down on hard objects will all cause your teeth to gradually wear down.
How Can You Prevent Tooth Enamel Erosion?
Some enamel loss is inevitable, but there are plenty of steps you can take to keep your teeth healthy overall. To avoid unnecessary erosion, be sure to:
- Avoid sodas, citrus fruits, and juices as well as sugary snacks. (If you do indulge in such foods and drinks, rinse your mouth with water immediately afterwards.)
- Use a straw whenever you can to cut down the contact that acidic drinks have with your teeth.
- Chew on sugar-free gums after meals to boost saliva production.
- Look for toothpaste that uses fluoride as an ingredient. (Fluoride strengthens the teeth and protects it from erosion.)
- Ask your dentist about dental sealants for teeth that are hard to clean.
- Get a mouthguard that can protect against involuntary tooth grinding and clenching at night.
How much of a threat does enamel erosion pose to your smile? Talk to your dentist in Jacksonville about your daily oral health habits and let them examine your teeth. Having the issue identified quickly will let you change your lifestyle appropriately so that you can avoid the long-term consequences of lost tooth structure!
About the Author
A proud graduate from the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine, Dr. Ryan Johnson believes in using dentistry to help his patients protect their overall health in addition to their smiles. He offers regular checkups, dental sealants, and mouthguards that will keep your enamel from wearing away faster than it should. To schedule an appointment at his practice, North Jacksonville Complete Dentistry, visit his website or call (904) 751-4958.
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