Dental erosion is the gradual loss of the protective enamel on your teeth due to exposure to acid. This acid can come from a variety of sources, including acidic foods and drinks and even certain medications. When the enamel on your teeth erodes, it can cause a range of dental problems and affect your overall oral health.
Common Effects of Dental Erosion
Increased sensitivity: With worn enamel, the underlying dentin becomes exposed. As a result, this can cause increased sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, as well as sweet and sour foods.
Discoloration: As the enamel on your teeth wears away, the exposed dentin can take on a yellow or grayish hue, making your teeth appear discolored and dull.
Rough or uneven surfaces: Enamel is typically a smooth surface. However, the biting surfaces may become rough or uneven with worn enamel. Therefore, it can become more difficult to chew or cause your teeth to feel gritty or sandy.
Tooth decay: When the enamel on your teeth erodes, it can leave your teeth more vulnerable to tooth decay and cavities.
Weakened teeth: Without the protective layer of enamel, your teeth can become weaker and more prone to cracking or chipping.
Preventing Dental Erosion
The good news is that there are several steps you can take to prevent dental erosion and protect your teeth:
Limit your intake of acidic foods and drinks: Try to avoid or limit your consumption of acidic foods and drinks, such as soda, citrus fruits, and vinegar. If you do consume these foods and drinks, rinse your mouth with water afterward to help neutralize the acid.
Use a straw: When drinking acidic beverages, use a straw to help reduce the amount of acid that comes into contact with your teeth.
Treat underlying medical conditions: If you have acid reflux that causes stomach acid to touch your teeth, talk to your doctor about treatment options to help reduce the amount of acid in your mouth.
Practice good oral hygiene: Brush and floss your teeth regularly to help remove plaque and prevent tooth decay. Be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste.
In addition, your dentist may also recommend or dental sealants to help protect your teeth from erosion and decay.
Overall, dental erosion can be a serious dental problem that can affect your oral health in a number of ways. By preventing erosion and protecting your teeth, you can maintain a healthy, beautiful smile for years to come. Don’t hesitate to talk to your dentist if you have concerns about dental erosion or any other dental issue. They can help you develop a treatment plan to address your individual needs and keep your teeth healthy and strong.