Tooth erosion can impact people at any age and can negatively affect a person’s oral health. Erosions cause damage to the protective enamel covering each tooth. This enamel protects the vulnerable inner structures of the tooth from becoming damaged. People are more likely to develop cavities as the protective layer breaks down.
What Is Tooth Erosion?
Tooth erosions cause damage to the enamel and dentin of the teeth. Erosions occur because of the teeth coming into contact with acids. Some causes of tooth erosion are the stomach contents and the foods and beverages people consume. When someone gets a tooth erosion, they need to see the dentist immediately to protect the tooth from further damage and eventual loss. Soda and fruit juice acids are the most damaging to the teeth.
How Do Erosions Occur?
Erosions often occur due to poor oral hygiene and consistent exposure to acidic sources. The erosion process takes place in two stages, the first being the most minor.
- Erosions begin to occur with exposure to acids. The acids demineralize the teeth and cause them to become softer and more prone to damage.
- Over time, the softened teeth become worn down and damaged by other teeth and wear and tear from eating certain foods.
Wear and tear can occur anywhere on the teeth but most commonly happens on the chewing surfaces, called occlusal surfaces. These surfaces can become severely damaged from acids coming from inside the body. Exposure to these acids occurs with acid reflux disease.
What Are the Dangers of Tooth Erosions?
Tooth erosions can impact the health and appearance of the teeth. Affected teeth become shorter and have more jagged edges. These teeth also become discolored. People with eroded teeth often experience increased sensitivity to hot and cold foods.
The only way to correct tooth erosions is to fill them or cover them with a dental crown. In cases of severe erosion, the dentist may need to remove the tooth.
Signs You Have Tooth Erosions
Some people do not know they have tooth erosions until severe damages result. Multiple signs may accompany erosions as they worsen. Those experiencing the following need to schedule an appointment with a dentist.
- Increased sensitivity is common when people suffer tooth erosions. Sweets will cause twinges of pain in the affected teeth.
- As the dentin becomes more exposed, the teeth become yellow.
- The teeth will become cracked and chipped.
- People may also see shiny, smooth areas on their teeth where the enamel becomes worn.
- Severe pain will occur as the enamel becomes severely worn.
Those who notice the above signs should see a dentist right away. Waiting too long to take action can lead to further damage that becomes more challenging to correct. The dentist may treat minor erosions with fluoride treatments and fillings.
Schedule a Dental Appointment Today
Preventing tooth erosions begins with regular dental appointments and proper oral hygiene. Brush and floss after consuming acidic foods and beverages. Regular teeth cleanings are also essential because they remove the plaque and tartar that can lead to enamel damage.
Seeing the dentist at least twice yearly is critical for finding minor erosions before they become significant. Early treatment and improved oral hygiene practices can help prevent further damage to the enamel. The dentist will help you keep your smile healthy so you do not experience tooth loss.