What is Dental Erosion?

Apex NC dentist

What is Dental Erosion?If your teeth are sensitive to cold, your Apex NC dentist may be able to help them feel better. Teeth are covered by enamel, which is a hard substance, but can be damaged. If teeth are exposed to acidic foods or liquids repeatedly, the enamel can be lost. Called dental or acid erosion, this process is a common cause of sensitive teeth.

Where Does the Acid That Causes Dental Erosion Come From?

* Acidic foods and drinks
Dental erosion is associated with acidic foods and drinks. Consuming items with high levels of citrus, like lemons, limes or oranges, more than twice a day may contribute to dental erosion. Regular consumption of soda or sports drinks is also associated with dental erosion. Other known contributors to acid erosion include tomatoes, wine and sour candies.
* Acid Reflux
With acid reflux, acid is pushed out of the stomach back into the mouth. Individuals with untreated acid reflux for an extended period of time are at risk for dental erosion.
* Vomiting
Repeated vomiting, often seen in people with eating disorders, may increase the risk of dental erosion.

What Are the Signs of Dental Erosion?

While you may not be able to see the effects of dental erosion yourself, your Apex NC dentist can look for early signs when checking for cavities and gum disease. Early signs of dental erosion are shallow dimples on your teeth or a flattening of your back teeth.

Other signs that you may be affected by dental erosion include:

* Rounded edges
The edges of your teeth are the most exposed to acid wear, so are typically worn away first.
* Yellowing of teeth
When a significant amount of enamel is worn away, the slightly yellow dentin layer underneath becomes more noticeable. Fillings may start to become more prominent if the surrounding tooth structure is dissolving away due to acid.
* Translucent or See-Through teeth
As more enamel wears away, teeth can become visibly thinner. As the enamel thins, the edges of your teeth can appear translucent.
* Tooth Pain
Exposed dentin is sensitive, so you may experience sharp tooth pain when your teeth are touched or exposed to hot or cold foods or liquids.

How Can I Prevent Dental Erosion?

Unfortunately, once enamel is worn away or lost, it cannot be replaced. But there are many ways you can prevent or stop dental erosion.

* Avoid eating or drinking acidic foods and beverages; drink water or milk instead while eating.
* If you drink an acidic beverage, use a straw placed behind your front teeth and don’t swish the liquid around or hold it in your mouth.
* If you eat something acidic, have cheese, milk or another non-acidic food with it.
* Rinse your mouth with water or milk after vomiting or eating an acidic food or beverage.
* Wait at least one hour before brushing your teeth after vomiting or consuming acidic food or beverages.
* Use a soft-bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste when brushing your teeth.

If you think you are at risk of developing dental erosion, talk to your Apex NC dentist to develop a plan to keep your teeth healthy and pain free, and your smile looking great.