Tooth enamel erosion and wear weakens the overall structure of your smile, exposing you to an increased risk for tooth decay (cavities), dental chips and cracks, and infection in or around the tooth. In this blog, we discuss the most common causes of tooth enamel erosion and how we can help you protect and repair damaged smiles.
1 –Consumption of Acidic or Sugary Foods & Drinks
Eating and drinking foods and beverages that are high in sugar and acid can slowly eat away at the tooth’s enamel. Luckily, it takes time for enamel to erode, and by eliminating or reducing consumption of sugary foods and drinks and caring for your smile properly, you should be able to avoid the majority of enamel erosion. Specifically, we recommend not sipping sodas or fruit juices for long periods, snacking on sugary sweets, or allowing these foods and drinks to sit on teeth. Drink water! You may also rinse your mouth with water or brush your teeth if you must eat sugary snacks to limit the amount of time these damaging foods and drinks remain on your teeth.
2 – Chronic Dry Mouth
Saliva helps us to break down food to aid in the digestive process. It also neutralizes plaque, the acidic byproduct of oral bacteria. When the body fails to produce adequate amounts of saliva, teeth are exposed higher levels of acidity, which can damage the enamel.
3 – Acid Reflux (GERD)
Chronic acid reflux or GERD exposes the tooth enamel to highly damaging stomach acid that quickly eats through even the strongest tooth enamel. In most cases, individuals with GERD experience enamel wear or weakening of the teeth in the back of the mouth first.
4 – Certain Prescription or Over the Counter Medications
Allergy medications and even aspirin as well as prescription medications can cause reduced saliva production, which increases risk for dental wear by causing dry mouth.
5 – Genetics
Some individuals have naturally thinner tooth enamel, which means they are more likely to experience erosion and the potentially adverse effects of dental wear.
6 – Teeth Grinding & Clenching
Teeth grinding and clenching, often referred to as bruxism, is an unconscious habit that places pressure on the biting surfaces of teeth leading to dental wear and tooth enamel erosion when left untreated.
7 – Misaligned Bite
When your bite isn’t properly aligned, the teeth may wear against each other unevenly, leading to eroded tooth enamel, deep pits in the surfaces of teeth, and even jaw joint dysfunction. Orthodontics (braces) or other alignment solutions can help prevent continued dental wear.
8 – Poor Oral Hygiene
Failure to brush and floss as recommended each day, visit your dentist twice a year for preventive dentistry appointments, and protect teeth from damage by wearing mouthguards and avoiding bad dental habits can lead to enamel erosion and increased risk for tooth decay and damage.
9 – Aging
As we age, teeth naturally begin to wear away due to a lifetime of daily use. Improved oral hygiene and an increased emphasis on preventive dentistry means teeth stay healthy longer, but natural wear and tear will eventually impact every smile.
10 – Poor Nutrition
A lack of essential nutrients in the diet to build and maintain healthy cells can lead to enamel wear and diminished overall health. Enamel erosion due to poor nutrition may be a result of not eating the right blend of nutrient-rich foods. It is also associated with disordered eating habits like anorexia and bulimia.
Treatment & Prevention of Tooth Enamel Erosion
First and foremost, our team always recommends that patients care for their teeth with the right daily oral hygiene routine and regular visits to our dental office for checkups and teeth cleanings. This can help individuals avoid severe tooth erosion and dental wear, but when it occurs, we also offer cosmetic and restorative dentistry solutions, including:
- Dental bonding
- Tooth-colored fillings
- Dental Crowns
- Root canal therapy
- Tooth replacement options
Meet the McCarl Dental Group Team
At the McCarl Dental Group, we’ve been serving Greenbelt, MD since 1924, and families in our community know they can trust our skilled dentists with their oral healthcare needs. If you’re ready to protect or repair your smile, contact the McCarl Dental Group team today. We look forward to hearing from you.