The Dangers of Tooth Erosion

The Dangers of Tooth Erosion By Danny O'Keefe D.D.S. on June 28, 2013

Many people hear the phrase "tooth erosion" and believe it's the same thing as tooth decay. While they are similar in a few respects, tooth erosion and tooth decay are actually two different things entirely. The team at our Flowood cosmetic dentistry practice would like to take a moment right now to look at tooth erosion. By giving you some basic information about its cause and its dangers, we hope to be able to improve your dental health in the long run.

What is tooth erosion?

Tooth erosion refers to the steady wasting of tooth structure caused by acidity in the mouth. This differs from tooth decay, which refers to the loss of tooth structure as a result of oral bacteria. Tooth erosion is also known as dental erosion and acid erosion.

Causes of Tooth Erosion

We mentioned acidity above, though let's get more specific. The ideal pH for the mouth should be neutral to slightly basic. When the mouth's pH is more acidic, that's when tooth erosion occurs.

There are a few common foods and beverages that are acidic and can alter oral pH:

  • Soft drinks
  • Apples
  • Citrus fruits and juices
  • Vinegar
  • Soy sauce
  • Beer
  • Coffee

We should also note that bile can cause dental erosion, which is why many people suffering from bulimia often experience dental erosion.

If you notice your teeth looking a little weird or becoming structurally weak, that might be the sign of tooth erosion. In such cases, it's a good idea to speak with a cosmetic and restorative dentist as soon as possible.

Aesthetic Problems and Tooth Erosion

When tooth erosion occurs, the teeth can become jagged and discolored. Much of this is caused by the loss of enamel and the exposure of the dentin layer of the tooth.

Dental Health Issues and Tooth Erosion

Because the teeth are weakened by the acidity in the mouth, the structure of the teeth is greatly compromised. Cracks, chips, and breakages in teeth are more common as a result of tooth erosion. This can lead to root canal infections, serious pain, and more serious problems down the road.

Treatment Options for Tooth Erosion

There are numerous cosmetic and restorative dentistry treatments that can be used to address tooth erosion. Inlays, onlays, and dental crowns, for instance, are all used to help restore the appearance and strength of the teeth. Sometimes porcelain veneers will be able to achieve good results, though in most cases, a dental restoration is much more ideal.

Prevention of Tooth Erosion

The best way that people can avoid tooth erosion is to practice good oral hygiene. That means brushing at least twice a day and flossing every night. Doing this will help improve the pH of your mouth. Drinking water regularly throughout the day is also helpful since it will remove food particles and acidic substances from your teeth.

It's also a good idea to abstain or limit your consumption of the foods and beverages listed above. We should also note that using a straw to consume some of those problematic beverages can reduce the chances of erosion.

Schedule a Consultation for Dental Care Treatment

For more information about tooth erosion and many other dental health issues, be sure to contact our dental care office serving Jackson today. Our entire team looks forward to meeting you in person an helping you achieve the best possible dental health in the process.