What is the tooth enamel?
What are the dangers of tooth erosion?
What are the signs of tooth erosion?
- The early stage of enamel erosion may cause a twinge of pain when eating certain food like sweets or when exposed to hot or cold food and drinks.
- The teeth may appear yellow as the enamel erodes and more dentin is exposed
- The edges of the teeth may become more rough and uneven as enamel erodes.
- In later stages of enamel erosion, teeth become extremely sensitive to temperatures and sweets.
What causes enamel erosion?
- Excessive soft drink consumption (high levels of phosphoric and citric acids)
- Fruit drinks (some acids in fruit drinks are more erosive than battery acid)
- Dry mouth or low salivary flow (xerostomia)
- Diet that’s high in sugar
- Acid reflux
- Environmental factors (friction, wear and tear, grinding from stress)
- Conditions such as bulimia nervosa
Acidic foods and drinks will lower the pH level of your mouth resulting in demineralization of your teeth. A variety of drinks contribute to dental erosion due to their low pH level. Examples include fruit juices, such as apple and orange juices, sports drinks, wine and lemon water.
What can we do to avoid enamel erosion?
- Reducing the frequency of acidic food and beverage intake. This decreases the acid exposure time and allows the eroded tooth surface to remineralise.
- Changing lifestyle to avoid certain foods or beverages that causes enamel erosion.
- Drinking through a straw to reduce contact between acidic fluids and teeth. Drinks should not be held in the mouth or sipped for a longer period of time.
- Avoiding abrasive forces. Use a soft bristled toothbrush and brush gently. Avoid brushing immediately after consuming acidic food and drink as tooth surface will be temporarily softer. Wait at least half an hour before brushing
- Using a remineralising agent, such as a fluoride-containing mouthwash, tablets or chewing gum. This can also help prevent further demineralisation if erosion has already occurred.
- Applying fluoride gels or varnishes can increase enamel hardness and increase resistance to erosion.
- Drinking milk and other dairy products causes increased mineral deposition on the tooth surface allowing it to remineralise.
- Treating any underlying medical conditions or diseases like acid reflux or bulimia nervosa