Tooth erosion is the loss of the surface of your teeth due to the acids you drink or eat or acids coming from the stomach. These acids dissolve the crystals which help in making your teeth, leading to loss of tooth surface. These acids can even soften the tooth surface making it easy to be worn away by teeth grinding.
How stomach acids can cause teeth erosion:
Our stomach contains very strong acids that are used to digest food. Reflux and vomiting can cause strong acids to enter your mouth.
Stomach acids used for digestion are strong and can cause damage to your teeth. For example, people with morning sickness and reflux can experience this problem.
Dietary sources of acids that can cause tooth erosion:
Common food and drinks that contain a high level of acid:
Cold drinks (sugar-free and containing sugar)
Lemon flavored teas and drinks
Citrus fruits (limes, lemons, oranges)
Vitamin c tablets
Pre-mixed alcoholic drinks
Food acids are commonly used in processed food and drinks, if check the ingredient list given on the packet you can see if food acids are added or not. The ingredients are listed in order of their amount present in food with the most is listed first.
Symptoms of tooth erosions:
One sign of tooth erosion is the loss of the surface of the tooth, which can lead to a shiny, smooth appearance. Tooth erosion can expose tooth roots making them more sensitive to cold, hot, or sweet food and drinks.
When tooth erosion increases, the enamel may wear away to expose underlying dentine, this area looks like yellow depressions on the surface. Fillings in teeth become more prominent when the surrounding tooth surface is dissolving away due to erosion.
Tooth erosion complications:
Tooth erosion, if untreated can lead to loss of the tooth surface. The loss of tooth structure requires dental treatment like dental fillings, crowns, veneers, and root canal treatment.
How to prevent tooth erosion:
Tooth erosion can only be prevented by limiting the contact of acids with teeth.
Eat a well-balanced and healthy diet.
Avoid drinking soft drinks or juice.
Consume fruits rather than drinking fruit juices.
Consult a doctor to manage reflux or vomiting.
Eat fruits during mealtime not between the meals.
Avoid chewing vitamin c tablets. If necessary, take vitamin c supplements that are swallowed whole.
Use sugar-free chewing gum after a meal to promote saliva flow.
Treatment for tooth erosion:
If your tooth has eroded, visit your dentist as the lost surface of the tooth needs to be replaced with dental fillings or crowns. It is very important to make regular visits to the dentist to identify tooth erosion at an early stage, determine the cause, and then develop a strategy to prevent further erosion.