Tooth Enamel Erosion. How common is it?

Tooth enamel erosion happens when the enamel gets damaged and wears off.  When the tooth enamel gets damaged, the dentin, which exists inside the enamel, gets exposed to the hot and cold food items and the tooth becomes sensitive. Often this sensitivity can become unbearable and the patient then needs oral treatment with a dentist.

Tooth enamel is the semi-translucent outer layer of a tooth. It is considered one of the strongest materials in the human body! The enamel protects the tooth from the wear and tear that comes from biting and chewing. It also protects the tooth from any damage caused by exposure to hot and cold items. Acids, sugar and other chemicals in food also affect the tooth enamel.  

Common causes of enamel erosion’s 

Poor oral hygiene is the most important factor that causes this erosion. Proper and regular brushing and flossing of the teeth is crucial to maintaining good oral health. The importance of brushing teeth and flossing technique should be considered seriously.

Excessive consumption of fizzy drinks or fruit juices can lead to tooth enamel erosion as well. These types of drinks enable the bacteria in the oral cavity to produce acids which demineralize the tooth enamel.

Consumption of sugary foods can be damaging to the tooth enamel. In the same way, sour acidic food items can also erode the tooth enamel.

Dryness of the mouth or low production of saliva leads to tooth enamel erosion. Dryness of the mouth can be caused by many things. The saliva in the mouth works to wash away the food particles stuck in the mouth and to neutralise acids in the mouth to prevent tooth decay.

Certain diseases of the stomach can also cause tooth enamel erosion; these include Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, acid reflux, etc. With these conditions, the stomach acids get up to the mouth and damage the tooth enamel.

Some medications and drugs which have a high acid content can significantly erode the tooth enamel. These medications include aspirin and vitamin C drugs.

Applying unnecessary force and pressure while brushing the teeth can damage the enamel of the teeth.

Bruxism is the habit of clenching and grinding the teeth consciously or unconsciously. Most people have the habit of grinding their teeth while sleeping. Bruxism can damage the tooth enamel and can even lead to tooth fracture, chipped teeth and tooth loss.

Get Dentist Advice About Oral Health Treatments for preventing such things.

Tooth enamel erosion gives rise to the following symptoms:

  • The teeth become extremely sensitive.
  • The pain would be felt when the patient consumes cold, hot or sweet food items.
  • The affected teeth might get chipped and cracked due to the loss of enamel. The edges of the teeth would become irregular and rough.
  • As the minerals of the enamel are lost, the surface of the teeth become smooth and shiny.
  • As the enamel starts to erode, it becomes thin and the yellow color of the inside of the tooth becomes visible, making the teeth appear yellow.
  • Cupping and dents on the teeth
  • The teeth become more susceptible to decay.
Tooth enamel erosion can be prevented.

The following are some of the factors which can help to protect the tooth enamel:

Fizzy drinks, sugary and acidic foods should be eaten in moderation to minimise the effects they can have on your teeth. 

Where possible, consuming drinks with lower sugar content should be consumed.

The mouth should be rinsed properly after eating sugary, acidic food.

Using straws for drinking fizzy and acidic drinks can be very helpful in protecting the tooth enamel because the straw lets the acids bypass the teeth.

Sugar-free gum with xylitol can effectively neutralize the acids in the drinks and foods. It also increases the flow of saliva in the mouth. Both these factors can be very helpful in periodontal disease treatment. However, it should be noted that excessive consumption of chewing gums can also cause jaw joint problems and tooth damage.

Drinking more water throughout the day is an excellent way to avoid dryness of the mouth and low saliva conditions.

A Toothbrush which has soft bristles should be used. Hard bristles can not only damage the tooth enamel but also the gums. Also, care should be taken to not apply too much force or pressure while brushing the teeth.

Fluoride is extremely beneficial in making the enamel stronger and to prevent dental caries. Fluoridated water and fluoride toothpaste should be used to provide sufficient quantities of fluoride to the teeth. Mouthwash, which contains fluoride, can also be used for this purpose.

If the  enamel is being eroded due to any disease, like Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, or any other disease, then the treatment for that particular Systemic Disease and Oral Health should be initiated immediately.

Tooth enamel erosion can be repaired by applying tooth bonding, dental crowns or veneers. The actual Cosmetic Dental Treatment depends upon the condition of the teeth and the extent of enamel damage.