What You Need to Know About Tooth Enamel Erosion
Tooth enamel is incredibly strong and in fact it’s the toughest substance in the body. It forms a hard outer layer on your teeth, protecting them against biting and chewing and against temperature changes. Enamel also helps protect your teeth against acid erosion. Even though this layer is extremely strong, it’s not impervious and can still be damaged. Once this happens, tooth enamel cannot repair itself as it doesn’t contain any living cells. Tooth enamel erosion is quite common, but unfortunately it does leave your teeth more susceptible towards developing cavities so it’s important to try to reduce your risk whenever you can.
What Are the Factors That Increase the Risk of Enamel Erosion?
Eating lots of acidic, sugary or sticky foods increases your risk as these provide food for bacteria in your mouth that will make the acid that attacks your tooth enamel. This problem can be made worse by frequent snacking. If you have dry mouth or xerostomia which is caused by a lack of saliva, then your tooth enamel is also more at risk as saliva helps wash away bacteria, reduces acidity in the mouth and helps protect your teeth. People with acid reflux or GERD are also at risk as this brings strong stomach acid up into the mouth where it can damage the teeth. It’s the same problem for anyone suffering from bulimia or who has any condition where they vomit frequently.
What Are the Symptoms of Tooth Enamel Erosion?
One of the most common symptoms is noticing your teeth are more sensitive whenever you have anything hot or cold. You might notice you have rough edges on your teeth or they could look more discoloured. This is because tooth enamel is slightly opaque, masking the natural colour of your teeth which is contained in the dentine underneath and which is usually quite a bit darker.
So What Can You Do to Protect Your Tooth Enamel?
This is where Clarence House Dental Care can help you. Good preventative dental care which includes regular check-ups with your dentist in Watton, as well as regular hygiene appointments, is an easy way to keep your teeth in a healthy condition. It also pays to make a few simple changes to your routines, for example cutting down on highly acidic or sugary foods and drinks or including them as part of a main meal rather than as a snack.
After you eat or drink something particularly acidic or sugary, rinse your mouth with plain water. It can also help to finish a meal with a piece of cheese or a glass of milk which provides calcium, helping to protect your tooth enamel. If you want to brush your teeth after a meal, wait at least half an hour as immediately after eating the mouth is quite acidic which has the effect of softening tooth enamel. Waiting just a little bit allows the enamel to re-harden slightly as the pH levels begin to normalise.
If your tooth enamel is already damaged, then come and see your dentist in Watton so we can repair the tooth which will help protect it. Are you overdue for a check-up or do you think you might have enamel erosion? Make an appointment to see us so we can make a proper diagnosis. Call us on 01953 882777.