Tooth Erosion: Definition, Causes, and Treatment
If you've ever felt an intense stab of pain when you drink something cold or bite into something hard, you may have early symptoms of tooth erosion. In order to avoid complications, timely recognition and treatment are important. In this article, we deal with the causes, symptoms, and treatments of dental erosion.
What is dental erosion?
Tooth erosion is the loss of tooth structure as a result of the chemical dissolution of tooth enamel by acids that are not of bacterial origin. Acids can come from the food and drinks we eat or from stomach acid. When the enamel is eroded, sensitivity, tooth decay, and other dental problems occur.
What causes tooth erosion?
Tooth erosion is caused by acidic substances that wear down tooth enamel. Heartburn can result from frequent consumption of acidic foods and drinks such as citrus fruits, soft drinks, and fruit juices. Erosion is also caused by brushing too hard with a hard-bristled brush, dry mouth, and bruxism.
The most common patterns of tooth erosion are:
- Constant intake of acidic foods and drinks: Acidic foods and drinks can soften tooth enamel, thus making it sensitive and susceptible to the eroding process.
- Dry mouth: Saliva helps protect teeth from erosion by cleaning teeth from harmful bacteria. If you suffer from dry mouth problems, you are more likely to be at risk of tooth erosion problems.
- Teeth grinding: Teeth grinding or bruxism can put a lot of pressure on the teeth and wear away the enamel that protects the teeth from erosion and other dental damage.
How to recognize dental erosion?
Dental erosion can be recognized by the yellowish or transparent appearance of the teeth due to the loss of tooth enamel. You may also see small holes or cracks in the teeth. Tooth erosion can also cause tooth sensitivity to heat, cold, or sweets. In more severe cases, the tooth may take on a rounded shape.
How to prevent dental erosion?
To prevent tooth erosion, avoid carbonated drinks, sweet and sour snacks. Drink plenty of water to neutralize the acid in your mouth, use a soft-bristled brush, use fluoride toothpaste, and consider using a mouthguard if you have a problem with grinding your teeth.
In addition, as the best prevention against tooth erosion, we recommend:
- Balanced diet: A balanced, healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help strengthen tooth enamel and reduce the risk of tooth erosion.
- Avoiding acidic foods: Food acid permanently damages tooth enamel, making it susceptible to tooth decay and other diseases. However, if you are unable to avoid acidic foods and drinks, try to consume them with meals and brush your teeth thoroughly afterward.
- Using sugar-free gum: Sugar-free gum can help increase saliva flow and reduce the chance of dry mouth.
- Wearing a mouth guard: If you grind your teeth or clench your jaw, wearing a mouth guard can help protect your teeth from pressure and erosion.
- Regular visits to the dentist: Visiting the dentist every six months for cleaning and examination can significantly help in detecting and thus preventing dental erosion.
How to treat tooth erosion?
Treatment of erosion depends on the severity of the damage. In mild cases, changes in diet and oral hygiene are sufficient to slow or stop further erosion. In case of greater damage, in order to restore the tooth to its shape and function, veneers or crowns may be necessary, while in severe forms extraction is necessary.
The most common forms of tooth erosion treatment include:
- Fluoride treatment: Fluoride is a mineral that helps remineralize tooth enamel, making it stronger and more resistant to acid attacks. The dentist may recommend fluoride treatments in the form of gels, rinses or varnishes.
- Bonding: Bonding is a procedure where the dentist applies tooth-colored resin to the affected teeth to bond them back together. This can help improve the appearance and quality of teeth that have been eroded by acid.
- Crowns: In cases of severe erosion, the dentist may recommend crowns or caps that cover the entire tooth. Crowns can help protect the underlying tooth from further damage, as well as restore the tooth's original appearance.
- Prevention: The best way to treat dental erosion is to prevent it from happening. You can do this by avoiding acidic foods and drinks, regular examinations, and daily oral hygiene.
What is wedge-shaped erosion?
Wedge erosion is a type of tooth erosion that occurs where the gums and teeth meet. It is characterized by a V-shaped notch that forms on the surface of the tooth, usually on the premolars or molars, and is caused by various factors such as acidic foods and drinks, toothbrush abrasion, and bruxism.
Which toothpaste to use for wedge erosion?
When it comes to wedge erosion, choose a paste that is gentle on the teeth and will not further damage the enamel. Look for a toothpaste that is specially formulated for sensitive teeth and contains fluoride to strengthen the enamel. Avoid highly abrasive or acidic agents that can worsen erosion.
In short, tooth erosion is a serious problem that can lead to many uncomfortable complications. On the other hand, with proper care, prevention and treatment, it is possible to avoid all negative consequences and improve your oral health. So take care of your teeth, schedule regular check-ups and enjoy your Hollywood smile!