Dental erosion is one of the many dental conditions that people can expereince, which is also a perfectly normal occurrence and is treatable -thanks to advanced dental technology. If you want to know more about dental erosion, its causes, and how to prevent and treat them, then this guide is sure to fill you in.
What Is It
Dental erosion, also known as tooth erosion, is a chemical process characterised by the acid dissolution of dental hard tissue, which doesn’t involve the acids of bacterial origin. It happens when the acids dissolve away part of the enamel of your tooth surface.
Since it is not caused by bacteria, it is different to tooth decay. While you can experience dental or tooth erosion at any age, it is particularly common among older adults with dry mouths, which limits the production of enough saliva to flush out and neutralise acids.
There are two main causes of dental erosion — external and internal.
1.External Or Extrinsic Causes
The external causes for dental erosion revolve around the diet, medicines you’re taking and exposure to acids in your environment. Some common foods and drinks that cause dental erosion include fruit juices, soft drinks (sugary or sugar-free), sports drinks, wine, citrus fruits, vinegar, and other food with additives like citric acid and phosphoric acid. In some cases, caffeine can also increase the chance of teeth erosion because it dehydrates and reduces saliva production.
Medications and other health supplements that can cause dental erosion includes chewable vitamin C tablets, liquid iron supplements, cough suppressants, mouth rinses, chemotherapy or other drugs that irritate the stomach and asthma medication from puffers.
Surprisingly, people working in some work environments can also be susceptible to tooth erosion. Some of them include wine professionals and factory workers, who are heavily exposed to airborne industrial chemicals. Spas and poorly chlorinated pools are some other external causes of tooth erosion.
2. Internal Or Intrinsic Causes
Certain health conditions and symptoms may also be a driving cause of dental erosion. Some of them include excessive vomiting, bulimia, gastric reflux, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease(GORD), dry mouth syndrome, reduced saliva production, and alcoholism. The exact internal cause of dental erosion can only be diagnosed by your dentist after a thorough examination.
Some dental experts also divide the causes of dental erosion based on dietary, regurgitation, environmental, saliva flow, exposed dentin and idiopathic factors.
How to Prevent
If you regularly visit your dentist, they will be able to identify any possible risk of dental erosion beforehand and guide you through preventative measures. Whereas if you follow your own oral care, then it’s best to use fluoride toothpaste, mouthwash, gel, or desensitising toothpaste.
You might also have to bring in some modifications to your diet, which focus on limiting acidic food/drink, carbonated beverages, and citrus fruits. Try to use a straw if you consume acidic or caffeinated beverages.
Chewing sugar-free gums for 20 minutes after eating acidic foods can increase saliva production and reduce the risk of dental erosion.
If you suspect the dental erosion is caused by regurgitation, eating disorder, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or alcohol addiction, you should seek dental advice.
Some common dental erosion treatments include veneers, fillings, crowns, root canal treatment, and tooth extractions. Your dentist will decide the exact treatment after a proper diagnosis of your condition. Sometimes your dentist may also suggest applying fluoride varnish or a remineralising treatment to stop further erosion.