What is tooth erosion? What causes tooth erosion?
The enamel on teeth can wear away due to a variety of reasons. When tooth structure is removed or wears away as a result of chemicals, then this results in erosion of the teeth.
Tooth erosion on the biting surface of the teeth
Tooth erosion on the front of the teeth
This erosion can take place due to consumption of a large quantity of citric acid, commonly found in orange and lemon juice. Erosion of this type will usually take place in the front of the teeth. Sometimes, erosion can also take place due to acidity. When a person suffering from acidity sleeps, the acids tend to come into the mouth when laying in a horizontal position causing erosion of the back of the teeth. Erosion of the back of the teeth can also happen to patients suffering from Bulimia.
Citric juices, when consumed excessively, contribute to tooth erosion
Presence of a dry mouth (xerostomia) can also lead to erosion of the teeth. Dry mouth can be caused due to a variety of reasons, but it is most commonly due to the long-term use of certain medications, insufficient water intake, damage to salivary glands by radiation, or blockage of salivary glands by any obstruction.
What are the signs of tooth erosion?
Erosion of the enamel will be diagnosed by the expert team at Acharya Dental quite quickly. However, signs of erosion to look out for are sensitivity and discoloration, cracks in the teeth, and indentations appearing on the surface of the teeth. If you feel that your teeth are being eroded, make an appointment for a consultation at Acharya Dental as soon as possible.
What are the effects of tooth erosion?
Erosion of the teeth usually leads to sensitivity. When the erosion is mild, the sensitivity may be minimal but can get worse as the process continues. Eventually, the tooth may need to undergo a root canal treatment to curb the sensitivity. Frequently, heavily eroded teeth require crowns (caps) to be placed on them to restore form, function, and esthetics. If the tooth is extremely worn out, a post will need to be used as well.
What kind of treatment can be done for tooth erosion?
Mild sensitivity can usually be treated with anti sensitive toothpaste. However, it is important to eliminate the cause of sensitivity to prevent the situation from progressing. It is best to avoid excessive intake of citric acid containing juices. It is also prudent to use a straw when drinking such juices to avoid further erosion of the front of the teeth. Persons suffering from acidity should consult a medical professional and obtain the appropriate medication to ensure that the acidity levels. Consumption of alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine can further worsen acidity, so these habits should be eliminated or reduced. People suffering from bulimia should seek appropriate medical and psychiatric counseling.
How can tooth erosion be prevented?
A good preventive measure is to use sugar-free chewing gum, containing xylitol, in between meals. Xylitol containing chewing gum helps to increase salivary flow, and also helps prevent cavities. Fluoride toothpaste help strengthen the teeth and make them more resistant to acid attack.
A useful physical barrier to reduce the harmful effects of chemicals on teeth is a night guard. A night guard is a simple, flexible, plastic tray that is custom made by your dentist to be placed on your teeth while asleep. This barrier will serve to reduce the acid exposure on the teeth, preventing the condition from worsening.
When tooth erosion is diagnosed early, it is not expensive to reverse or arrest the process. However, when diagnosed at a late stage, the cost can be substantial as it can involve root canal treatment, posts and crowns to restore the tooth back to its original form. Hence, the team at Acharya Dental advises six monthly check up appointments to ensure that your teeth are in great shape.