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Dentist Open Sunday Blog - Now Dentistry

Know about Tooth Erosion

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:

 Energy drinks

Cold drinks (sugar-free and containing sugar)

Fruit juices

Lemon flavored teas and drinks

Citrus fruits (limes, lemons, oranges)

Wine

Vinegar

Vitamin c tablets

Vitamin water

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.

BEST FOODS TO KEEP YOUR TEETH HEALTHY

Talking about oral health brushing twice a day, flossing, regular dental check-ups all are important but one factor which everyone avoids is your diet-what you eat and how often you eat. The change will start when you eat certain foods. Bacteria present in your mouth convert carbohydrates and sugar into acids, these acids will attack the enamel of teeth, starting to decay teeth.

The often you are eating a snack you are exposing more your teeth to decay and the time between the meals allows the saliva to wash away these bacteria. Frequent snacking during the daytime, without brushing immediately gives fuel to bacteria.

Healthy foods and drinks for the mouth:

Best food choices for your healthy teeth include cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese, Monterey jack, nuts.  These food items contain calcium and phosphorous that help in remineralize teeth (a natural process by which minerals are redeposited in teeth enamel that are washed by acids). If you’re lactose intolerant in that case you have to avoid milk and dairy products can switch to spinach and broccoli as they also contain a high amount of calcium.

Fruits and vegetables like apples, melons, peas, cucumbers, and celery have high water content which dilutes the effect of sugar they contain. Acidic foods such as citrus tomatoes, lemon contain acid so they should be eaten as part of a larger meal to minimize the acid content.

Poor food choices for your teeth are jellybeans, hard candies, lollipops, bread, cakes, muffins, cookies, pies, French fries, caramel, bananas, raisins, honey, and other dried fruits. These foods have large sugar content and also stick to the teeth giving chance to bacteria. Cough drops should be used when necessary as they are like sugary candy can coat sugar on your teeth.

If you are planning to give your child sweets better give them as desserts immediately after your food reason being during meal time amount of saliva in the mouth is very high washing away sugary content. The best beverage for teeth includes unsweetened tea and fluoridated water. Limit your consumption of sugary drinks like tea, lemonade, coffee, soft drinks with added sugar.

Is chewing gum ok for teeth?

Many people consider chewing gum bad for your teeth but chewing sugarless gums is beneficial to your teeth as chewing helps in removing foods that are stuck in your teeth and also increases the flow of saliva to neutralize acids in the mouth. Some gums even contain ingredients that can reduce cavities and avoid if you have jaw pain.

Gums and teeth care tips:

Brush your teeth regularly. Brush twice a day morning and night before sleeping. If brushing between the meals is not possible then rinse your mouth with water several times.

Use fluoride-containing toothpaste to avoid early decay.

Floss at least once a day to remove food particles stuck between teeth and below the gumline.

Visit your dentist regularly after every six months for check-ups and cleanings. Getting regular check-ups can avoid future dental problems.

Avoid eating food that contains high sugary content and choose nutritious foods such as raw vegetables, apples, plain yogurt, and cheese.

The connection between oral health and heart disease

 It is next to possible to think that your oral health can be connected with heart disease also. But, indeed, oral health (such as tooth loss or gum disease) can directly affect your heart such as heart stroke or attack.

Brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes can lower down the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

How cardiovascular disease and poor oral health be connected?

The bacteria present in your mouth that causes gum and teeth infection causes gingivitis can travel to elsewhere in the body through blood vessels can cause blood vessel inflammation and damage followed by tiny blood clots, heart attack, and stroke.

Bacteria present in the mouth not only cause infection but the body’s immune response causes inflammation that causes vascular damage in the body, including the brain and heart.

There may be no direct connection between gum disease and cardiovascular disease but the other factor that can also affect is smoking.  Smoking can affect both your oral health as well as cardiovascular health.

Symptoms and warning signs:

 Your gums are swollen, red, and sore when touched.

Notice bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth.

Your gums bleed when you brush, eat or floss.

Infection around teeth or gums.

You feel the loose tooth.

Who is at risk?

Patients who are facing chronic gum conditions such as Gingivitis or advanced periodontal disease have the highest risk for heart disease which is caused by poor oral health when it remains undiagnosed or unmanaged. The bacteria that are mostly associated with gum infection are present in the mouth and enter the bloodstream, where they get attached to blood vessels and increase the risk for cardiovascular disease.

People think if gum inflammation is not noticed you cannot affect the heart but inadequate oral hygiene and accumulated plaque can put you at risk for gum disease.

Measures for prevention:

For prevention of gum disease and proper oral hygiene brush twice a day with a soft-bristled brush that perfectly fits your mouth and reaches every tooth surface even on teeth that are far away. Use toothpaste in which fluoride content is high to increase gum health. You should also floss daily and regular dental check-up for regular professional cleaning is a must.

By being proactive about your oral health, you can protect yourself from developing any connection between oral health and cardiovascular disease.