Tooth enamel erosion and its prevention

Tooth enamel is the outermost covering of human teeth. This rigid shell is actually the hardest tissue in the entire human body. Enamel covers the outer part of the teeth known as dentin. Sometimes substances such as coffee, tea, cola, red wine, some juices and cigarettes cause staining and discoloration of this layer. Visiting the dentist regularly to clean and restore tooth enamel can help maintain health and return its natural color.

What exactly does tooth enamel do?

Enamel helps protect your teeth from everyday activities such as chewing, biting, grinding and abrasion. Although tooth enamel is a hard protection for tooth tissue, it can wear and crack. Enamel insulates and protects teeth from temperature changes and potentially painful chemicals.

When bones are broken or cracked, they can be easily repaired after a while and return to their previous state. Although enamel can be compared to bone in terms of hardness, this material cannot be repaired naturally after being damaged. The reason for this is that the enamel tissue is free of cells. And there is no repair action that can be done by the cells.

What factors cause tooth enamel erosion?

Tooth erosion occurs when acid or an acidic environment destroys tooth enamel. Tooth enamel erosion can be caused by:

  • High consumption of soft drinks (soft drinks contain high amounts of phosphoric and citric acids
  • Drinks containing some fruit juices
  • Decreased production and acidity of saliva and dry mouth
  • Having a diet full of sugar and starch
  • Having acid reflux disease (GERD)
  • Occurrence of some gastrointestinal problems
  • Taking certain medications (such as aspirin, antihistamines)
  • Genetics and hereditary problems
  • (and environmental factors, such as friction and teeth grinding, wear and stress and corrosion

Can dental plaque erode tooth enamel?

Plaque is a sticky surface that consists of saliva, small food particles, bacteria and other substances that can stick to the surface of your teeth in any situation. Plaque forms between your teeth and can also form between tiny holes.

Sometimes the bacteria in dental plaque convert the starches in food into acid. When this happens, the acids in the plaque begin to eat away at and break down the healthy minerals in your tooth enamel. This causes this rigid tooth structure to wear down and become perforated. Over time, small dents and dents will appear on the surface of the enamel.

What are the symptoms of tooth enamel erosion?

The signs of erosion of this part of the tooth can be different depending on the stage and intensity of erosion. Some symptoms may include:

  • Having sensitivity: to some foods (such as sweets) and the temperature of foods (heat or cold) may cause pain in the early stages of enamel erosion.
  • Color change: Since the most superficial layer of the tooth is the enamel, and below it is the tooth dentin, one of the signs of enamel erosion can be the change in tooth color and the appearance of dentin.
  • Cracking or breaking the tooth: the edges of the teeth become rougher, irregular and more compact due to the erosion of the tooth enamel.
  • Severe and painful sensitivity: In the later stages of tooth enamel erosion, teeth become very sensitive to temperature and sweets.
  • Depression: the appearance of depressions on the tooth surface.

When the enamel falls; the tooth is more sensitive to the appearance of cavity or decay on its surface. Caries will easily cause infection and bacteria to enter the interior of the tooth.

How to prevent tooth enamel loss?

To prevent enamel loss and keep teeth healthy, be sure to brush and floss daily with a mouthwash containing fluoride and antiseptic. For accurate and regular evaluation, you should visit a specialized dental clinic every six months. You can also follow the following tips:

  • Eliminate acidic foods and drinks from your diet or reduce their consumption.
  • Immediately rinse your mouth with water after eating and consuming acidic foods or drinking acidic substances.
  • If you are used to eating or not eating acidic foods, try using a straw to drink them.
  • Manage the consumption of snacks and sugary foods. Sweet snacks can accelerate the process of tooth decay.
  • Chew sugar-free gum between meals. Chewing gum will increase the production of saliva up to 10 times the normal state.
  • If your saliva production is low or your mouth gets dry quickly, try to drink a lot of water during the day.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride strengthens teeth, so make sure fluoride is a main ingredient in your toothpaste.
  • Ask your dentist about how to reduce tooth decay.

Did you receive and use a high amount of fluoride?

Yes, this is possible. But you should note that while fluoride plays a very strong and useful role in preventing tooth decay, excessive use of this substance can cause problems such as tooth enamel fluorosis. This condition can occur in children and cause defects in their tooth enamel.

Most children with enamel fluorosis have a mild condition that is nothing to worry about. However, in some more severe cases, the teeth become discolored, perforated, and cleaning them will be difficult.

How is tooth enamel erosion treated?

The treatment of erosion and loss of this part of the tooth depends on the type of problem. Sometimes tooth grafting and restoration are used to protect its tissue and increase its appearance. If the amount of erosion and loss of tooth enamel is significant, the dentist may recommend that you cover the tooth with a crown or dental veneer. A crown may protect the tooth from further decay.

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