Tooth erosion is the wearing away of tooth enamel by acid. The enamel is the hard calcified tissue that covers and protects the outside of the tooth. It is also the hardest substance in our bodies.
Symptoms of tooth erosion can range from sensitivity to more severe problems such as cracking. Be sure to let your dentist know if you experience any symptoms of tooth erosion.
Early Symptoms of Tooth Erosion
Discoloration - Since the dentin of the tooth is exposed during tooth erosion, discoloration or yellowing of the teeth can occur. The more dentin that is exposed, the more yellow the teeth will become.
Tooth Sensitivity - Sensitive teeth are very common symptoms of tooth erosion because the enamel that protects the teeth wears away, leaving exposed dentin.
Rounded Teeth - During the early stages of tooth erosion, it is common for teeth to have a rounded look.
Transparent or Sand Blasted Appearance - It is not uncommon in the early stages of tooth erosion for the teeth to have a sand blasted look or for the tips of the front teeth to look transparent.
Advanced and Severe Symptoms of Tooth Erosion
Cracking - If tooth erosion continues into the advanced stage, the edges of the teeth can start to crack and have a rough feeling.
Dents - Little dents, also called cupping, can start to appear on the biting areas of the teeth.
Extreme Sensitivity - Since the enamel wears away during tooth erosion, the teeth can become extremely sensitive during the advanced stages of tooth erosion.
How to prvent Tooth erosion?
Tooth erosion can cause mild dental problems, from tooth discoloration to sensitivity to more severe dental problems, such as indentions in the teeth, severe tooth sensitivity, and even cracked teeth.
Tooth erosion can do severe damage to your teeth, but it can also be prevented. The Academy of General Dentistry offers these tips to prevent tooth erosion:
After eating or drinking acidic foods or beverages, rinse your mouth with water so that the acid will be neutralized.
Wait at least an hour before brushing your teeth after consuming acidic foods or beverages to allow the teeth to remineralize after the acid exposure.
Cut back on carbonated drinks and try replacing them with water, milk or un-sweetened coffee and tea.
Use a straw when drinking carbonated beverages or other sweet drinks, such as natural fruit juices, which are very acidic. A straw enables the liquid to go quickly to the back of your mouth instead of washing over the teeth.
Swallow acidic liquids quickly instead of swishing them around or holding them in your mouth.
Chewing sugar-free gum can help reduce dry mouth and increase the saliva flow, allowing for your teeth to remineralize.
Always use a soft toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride can help to reduce tooth sensitivity.
Since tooth erosion can occur from several different factors, it’s important to talk with your dentist if you suspect that you might have tooth erosion. Your dentist can also keep you informed of dental products that are designed specifically to help sensitivity caused by tooth erosion.