What is Dental Erosion & How to Prevent Erosive Wear on your Teeth?
Dental erosion or erosive tooth wear is the loss of the tooth structure caused by the combined influence of the chemical and mechanical forces. Some of the signs and symptoms of dental erosion include the dull and yellowish appearance of the teeth, flattened chewing surfaces of the back teeth and thinned-out edges of the front teeth, as well as general tooth sensitivity. Even before you can see or feel these signs of damage, the acids in your mouth begin dissolving protective enamel away making it easier for otherwise “normal”, everyday activities to damage your teeth. If you ingest large quantities of acid-containing food or beverages, have a gastro-esophageal reflux disorder (GERD), vomit frequently, take certain medications or dietary supplements, or experience dry mouth, you might be more prone to have erosive wear on your teeth.
How does erosion work:
- The first step of the erosive tooth wear process is softening of the tooth surface. Just like lemon juice can destroy solid granite over time, the acids you consume or the acids from your stomach soften the outer layer of the teeth.
- Once the top protective layer is softened, brushing, eating, and other regular everyday activities slowly remove the enamel and expose the underlying structures.
- When the tooth-protective outer surface is compromised, other environmental factors continue stripping away the tooth structure leading to more and more damage over time. The loss of the tooth structure makes the mouth more vulnerable to other diseases such as dental caries, jaw pain, severe sensitivity, and others.
Take these steps to prevent erosive wear of your teeth:
- Avoid consuming food and drinks that expose your mouth to acids and/or replace them with the products with high calcium concertation such as yogurt, milk, and cheese.
- Talk to your medical practitioner or your dentist
- if you have conditions that may increase the production of stomach acids
- if you take acidic medication or supplements
- or if your saliva production is compromised.
- Use daily oral care products that can shield the enamel and prevent the wear of your teeth such as stannous fluoride-containing toothpaste.
- See your dental professional regularly to be screened for erosive tooth wear and receive customized recommendations on how to prevent damage from dental erosion.