Dictionary.com defines erosion as the process by which the surface of an object is worn away. Enamel is the outer and protective layer that surrounds the crown of each tooth. Therefore, enamel erosion can’t be a good thing for your smile. Here are the facts about enamel erosion in Plano and how you can avoid this destructive process.
Enamel Erosion and Your Smile
Although tooth enamel is hard (in fact, it is the hardest substance in the human body), it is not indestructible. Something as small as a molecule of acid can begin to wear away the enamel on your teeth. And while the bacteria that live naturally in your mouth excrete some acid, there are other sources that create a greater risk for enamel erosion. These include:
- Sodas, which contain phosphoric acid and citric acid
- Fruit juices, some of which have acids that are stronger than battery acid
- Foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates
- Acid reflux disease or GERD
- Aspirin and antihistamines
- A dry mouth or reduced saliva production, so acid is more likely to cling to teeth for longer
- Frequent vomiting due to alcoholism or an eating disorder called bulimia
In addition to the corrosive effects of acid on your teeth, there are other factors that can wear away enamel, such as teeth grinding and clenching, brushing too hard, tobacco use, and biting down on hard objects like ice cubes or fingernails.
The Signs of Enamel Erosion
If the enamel on your teeth has begun to erode, visible and tangible signs will be present. For instance, the dentin layer of teeth this is more yellow may be exposed. This exposure can also lead to tooth sensitivity. As there is further erosion, the edges of your teeth may become rough or jagged. Eventually, a tooth may become sensitive to hot and cold temperatures and could even show signs of cupping, or indentations on the surface.
Preventing Enamel Erosion
You can preserve the enamel on your teeth by limiting soft drinks or fruit juices and choosing water instead. When you do have a beverage that is highly acidic, use a straw if possible and then rinse with clear water. Be sure to brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, which helps to strengthen tooth enamel. But wait at least 30 minutes before brushing to give the saliva in your mouth a chance to neutralize the acid.
Treating Enamel Erosion
Enamel cannot be replaced, but there are treatment options. Dental sealants can provide a barrier between your tooth and the acids that cause enamel erosion. In serious cases, cosmetic bonding, porcelain veneers or even a dental crown may be necessary to protect a tooth.
Now that you know the signs of enamel erosion, be sure to call a dentist in Plano if you notice any. Timely treatment could help you avoid the negative consequences of enamel erosion.
Meet the Doctor
Dr. Jason Montgomery is a dentist in Plano, TX. He and his staff are here to help you avoid dental problems such as enamel erosion, so you can maintain a healthy and beautiful smile. If you need to schedule an appointment, call the office today.