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How to Protect Tooth Enamel from Erosion

How to Protect Tooth Enamel from Erosion

Published on July 26th, 2022

Picture of a tooth with a bandage on it.

Stopping tooth enamel erosion is paramount to taking care of your teeth. When tooth enamel is damaged, it can leave your teeth vulnerable to decay. Tooth enamel loss is preventable with proper dental care and regular check-ups.

Can you reverse tooth enamel erosion? Unfortunately, once tooth enamel is lost, it cannot be restored, and since enamel is responsible for protecting your teeth against decay, it is important to be aware of the things that can damage it.

Causes

Tooth enamel is meant to withstand the daily stresses we put on our teeth, such as chewing food and drinking hot beverages. However, enamel can still erode over time due to various circumstances, such as injuries or poor dental care.

When tooth enamel is worn away, people will typically experience tooth sensitivity before they encounter tooth decay. Once tooth decay does set in, gum tissue becomes more susceptible to disease. Below you will find some common causes of enamel erosion:

  • Poor Dental Hygiene – Poor dental hygiene, typically caused by lack of proper dental care, allows bad bacteria in the mouth to accumulate on tooth surfaces, leading to the breakdown of enamel and unhealthy gum tissue. Without proper at-home care, like brushing your teeth twice a day, and regular exams, your oral hygiene will suffer.
  • Certain Mouthwashes – Chlorhexidine mouthwashes can cause tooth enamel erosion, especially if overused or used incorrectly, due to their effects on the pH level of saliva.
  • Certain Foods & Drinks – Certain foods and drinks are known to have a negative impact on teeth, such as soft drinks, sugar, citrus, and even carbs. It is important not to consume too many carbohydrates, carbonated beverages, or foods with high sugar or acid content.
  • Teeth Grinding/Jaw Clenching – Teeth grinding, also known as Bruxism, can damage tooth enamel, and even the structure of teeth by causing chips and cracks.
  • Acid Reflux – Tooth erosion can result from acid reflux, especially with chronic conditions like GERD, because stomach acid will erode enamel when it reaches the mouth.
  • Medication – Certain medications can cause tooth enamel erosion, such as medications that dry out the mouth and raise acidity levels.
  • Bite Misalignment – A misaligned bite can lead to jaw clenching and teeth grinding, as well as cause teeth to wear unevenly as they rub against each other- all of which can lead to enamel erosion.
  • Aging – Aging is not something that can be prevented, however, when we take proper care of our oral health throughout our lifetime, dental erosion is reduced.
  • Genetics – Some people are born with thinner, weaker enamel than others. Proper oral care will help prevent enamel loss, and fluoride treatments may be able to help strengthen enamel.
  • Chronic Dry Mouth – A dry environment will allow plaque to sit on the teeth and slowly erode tooth enamel.

Signs of tooth enamel erosion can include heightened sensitivity (especially to heat, cold, and acidic or sugary foods and beverages), tooth discoloration, pain, indents on the surfaces of teeth, and cracks or chips.

Visit Cary Dental Associates – Our Team is Here for You & Your Family

If you are concerned for the health of your teeth, schedule an appointment with Cary Dental Associates and allow our team to help guide you towards a stronger, healthier smile. We will assess your current oral health, talk to you about the best ways to prevent tooth decay, and address any current concerns you may have. Contact us to schedule your next appointment when you call (847) 516-1100.

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