Tooth ErosionThe two main components of the teeth are dentin and enamel. Dentin is the center of the tooth and comprises the majority of the tooth structure. Protecting the dentin is a thin layer of enamel. Enamel is a very hard tissue, which serves to strengthen the tooth so that it can withstand chewing and biting, and so that it is protected from extreme temperatures of hot and cold.
Unfortunately, many of our patients in Nashville suffer from tooth erosion. Tooth erosion is a condition in which this protective layer of enamel begins to wear off. Without substantial enamel to protect the tooth, patients may experience symptoms such as pain, sensitivity, discoloration, and cupping on the surface of the teeth. Cosmetic dentist Clint Newman teaches his patients the common causes of tooth erosion so that they can avoid this harmful condition.
Causes of Tooth ErosionThe condition of tooth erosion cannot be reversed. Tooth enamel does not contain any living cells so it does not have the ability to regenerate. For that reason, it is important for patients to protect the teeth from tooth erosion by avoiding common causes of the condition. The following are some common factors that may contribute to tooth erosion:
- Acidic foods and beverages: The acids that are found in certain foods and beverages can be extremely harmful to tooth enamel. Patients should limit intake of acidic foods such as citrus fruits, berries, and soft drinks. When these foods are consumed, patients should rinse the mouth with water afterward to protect against the effects of acid.
- Sugar and starch: Just as acid can eat away at tooth enamel, so can sugars and starches. It is important to limit the diet to a minimal intake of sugary, starchy foods in order to protect against erosion.
- Dry mouth: Dry mouth is a condition in which the mouth fails to produce a substantial amount of saliva. Because saliva is the mouth’s natural cleanser, a lack of it leaves the mouth unable to naturally rinse away food particles, acids, and bacteria. Patients who suffer from dry mouth should seek treatment in order to protect the health and strength of the teeth.
- Gastrointestinal conditions: Conditions such as acid reflux are likely to expose the teeth to erosive stomach acid more frequently than those who do not suffer from gastrointestinal conditions. This excessive exposure can cause tooth enamel to erode.
- Wear and tear: Normal wear and tear may erode tooth enamel over time. However, there are habits such as teeth grinding, clenching, and nail biting that can put undue stress on the teeth. This excessive wear and tear can cause damage or erosion to tooth enamel.