What Is Dental Erosion?
Our teeth are made up of several layers with the outermost and hardest layer called enamel. When a person’s teeth are exposed to certain acids over time, the enamel can wear away. This is called dental erosion.
Dental erosion is painful and can interfere with the ability to eat and drink certain foods. It also affects the teeth’s appearance, resulting in cracks and discoloration.
Causes of Dental Erosion
Dental erosion can be caused by medical conditions, dietary choices, or a combination of the two. The acids that cause dental erosion are found in certain beverages and also occur naturally in the stomach. Some common causes are:
- Gastroesophageal reflux, commonly called acid reflux or GERD
- Frequent vomiting associated with bulimia
- Chronic vomiting due to health conditions, such as hyperemesis gravidarum during pregnancy
- Chronic dry mouth, as saliva dilutes acid and keeps your mouth healthy
- Consuming acidic beverages such as soda pop, juice, and energy drinks
To learn more about how beverages can affect your dental health, please see Our Guelph Dentist Wants You To Be Aware of These Drinks That Can Hurt Your Teeth.
In rarer circumstances, dental erosion can be caused by exposure to certain industrial chemicals and the chlorine in swimming pools.
Symptoms of Dental Erosion
The first symptom of dental erosion is often sensitivity when consuming hot or cold foods and beverages. As erosion progresses, a person may also experience:
- Discoloration or yellowing, as the layer of dentin beneath the enamel, is exposed
- Cracks or chips, creating a jagged appearance
- Indentations or tiny “craters” on the surface of the teeth
As the enamel continues to wear away, fillings may become exposed and more noticeable. Sensitivity often increases, to the point where eating sugary, hot, or cold food becomes unbearable.
How to Prevent Dental Erosion
Dental erosion can be prevented by avoiding or limiting sugary and acidic drinks. If you do consume these drinks, brush your teeth afterwards. Sipping on water throughout the day can also help prevent erosion due to acidic drinks.
Underlying medical conditions that are causing dental erosion must be diagnosed and properly treated.
Dental Erosion Treatment Options in Guelph, ON
Only a dentist can identify and treat dental erosion. If you think you are experiencing dental erosion, Dr. Ketan Mistry and his staff can help. Please book an appointment so we can assess your teeth and go over your treatment options. The sooner you identify and treat dental erosion, the better it is for your overall health.