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Acid Erosion and What Can Cause It

Acid Erosion and What Can Cause It

Did you know that tooth enamel is the strongest substance in the human body? However even the strongest of substances are susceptible to issues. Acid erosion, also known as dental erosion is the irreversible loss of the tooth structure due to chemical dissolution, caused by acid. Erosion starts with the enamel but in severe cases can also begin to erode the dentine which is the calcified tissue covered by tooth enamel.

Did you also know that dental erosion is the most common chronic disease of children aged 5-17, namely due to people not being aware of the damaging and severe nature of erosion as well as not knowing what can cause it.

Causes

Acid is the major culprit when it comes to dental erosion as it essentially disrupts the pH levels of your mouth which causes your teeth to demineralise. There are a number of foods and drinks that can cause dental erosion and some of them are good for you – just unfortunately not very nice to your tooth enamel.

Causes include:

  • Fruit juices
  • Carbonated soft drinks
  • Sports drinks
  • Energy drinks
  • Wine
  • Citrus fruits
  • Berries
  • Chlorinated swimming pool water
  • Vitamin C
  • Aspirin
  • Iron supplements
  • Gastro-reflux
  • Excessive brushing of teeth
  • Grinding teeth

Signs

There are various signs and symptoms that will help you figure out if you might be suffering from dental erosion. Fortunately, there are easy to detect and if spotted soon enough can be managed to help prevent erosion from worsening.

Signs include:

  • Changes in appearance: teeth will start to discolour and turn a yellowish tint or become transparent.
  • Difference in shape: teeth that are subjected to dental erosion will change their shape. They may appear broader, rounder and more concave and gaps between teeth may begin to fill in.
  • Tooth cracking: A severe sign of dental erosion is for the teeth to crack.
  • Sensitivity: While many people suffer from tooth sensitivity, it is another symptom for dental erosion. It normally occurs whilst consuming hot, cold or sweet foods.

Management 

A lot of the foods and drinks that cause dental erosion are enjoyed by people everyday as many of them are vital to a well-rounded, healthy diet. This doesn’t mean you can no longer enjoy these things but there are various methods you can implement to avoid dental erosion.

Methods include:

  • Reducing or avoiding the foods and drinks that cause erosion.
  • Reduce the level of abrasiveness when brushing teeth by changing to a softer toothbrush.
  • Drink through a straw which helps to by-pass the teeth.
  • After a meal that includes acidic foods, eat a piece of cheese or have some milk to help equalise acid in the mouth.
  • Rinse mouth with water after a meal, or sip water throughout.
  • Chew sugar-free gum that contains xylitol which helps to reduce acid.
  • Drink more water, especially if you have a dry mouth.
  • Wait at least an hour before you brush your teeth after a meal that contains high-acid foods. The acid can soften the enamel which can be further eroded by brushing your teeth.
  • Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride.

If you are concerned that dental erosion is effecting you or your family, or if you have any other issues with your teeth, our friendly Narellan dentists are available 6 days a week (Mon-Sat), with quick appointments available for patients with severe tooth pain or problems.

Contact our clinic on 02 4648 0909 or [email protected]