Your tooth enamel is the tough, hard, clear coating that protects your teeth. Inside each of your teeth is what is called dentin, a bunch of inner tubes that cover nerves and other cells of your teeth. Dentin is what gives your teeth their color. When the enamel erodes, the dentin and nerves of your teeth are exposed. This exposure can lead to pain and further damage of the tooth. Tooth problems happen when the enamel of your teeth get chipped or eroded.
What Happens When Your Tooth Enamel Erodes?
When the enamel on your teeth erode, they become more susceptible to tooth decay, cavities and infection. Once the enamel is broken down, germs can find entry to the body of your teeth. At first, these germs can cause cavities, which usually start off small. These small cavities, if not treated, will continue to grow and penetrate deeper into the tooth body and the nerve cells. This causes painful infections or abscesses.
What Causes Tooth Enamel Erosion?
Enamel cannot repair itself once it is damaged because it is composed of non-living cells. Once you chip your tooth or acids wear away the enamel, it is damaged forever. Since it can’t grow back, it is important to take care of your teeth and avoid the things that can erode it. Enamel erosion is caused by:
- Excessive soda and fruit drink consumption
- Dry mouth
- A diet high in starch and sugar
- Acid reflux disease
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Medications such as aspirin and antihistamines
- Inherited genetic conditions
- Environmental factors including natural friction and wear and tear, stress, and corrosion
It is important to take care of your teeth and to see us quickly if you suspect enamel loss or erosion. Your teeth enamel may be eroding if you experience any of these symptoms:
If sweet foods or very hot or cold foods and drinks cause pain when consumed, you may have early stage enamel erosion.
When more of your teeth’s dentin (the colored inner part of your tooth) is exposed due to the erosion of the enamel, it will cause discoloration. Usually your teeth will turn yellow.
- Cracks and chips
As the enamel gets weakened, it become more prone to cracks, chips and jaggedness.
- Severe, painful sensitivity
When the dentin and tooth nerves are exposed due to the erosion of the enamel, it can make your teeth more than sensitive – it can start to get very painful.
Similar to chipping and breaking, your teeth can also become pitted. Eroded enamel is destroyed and the indentations on the teeth can’t be naturally repaired.
What can you do to fixed eroded enamel, since it can’t grow back?
Eliminate highly acidic foods and drinks from your diet. These include carbonated sodas, citrus fruits and fruit juices. If you have one of these beverages, rinse your mouth out with water immediately afterwards.
Drink more water. Water is safer than acidic drinks and drinking water will help stimulate saliva production.
Limit snacks. After eating food, your mouth becomes temporarily acidic. The more you snack in a day, the more your teeth will be exposed to the acidity of your mouth. Snacks high in sugar and starch produce the most amount of acidity in your mouth.
Chew sugar-free gum between meals. Chewing makes your mouth produce saliva which is important in washing away food particles from the surface of your teeth enamel. Be sure to chew only sugar-free gum as gum with sugar in it will create additional acidity in your mouth. Sugar-free gum that also contains xylitol is the best option as the compound is shown to reduce the acids contained in foods and drinks.
Use fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is a chemical proven to strengthen your teeth.
If the enamel on your teeth has already begun to erode, we provide sealants, crowns, bridges and bonding to save your teeth and prevent further damage.