How to stop tooth enamel erosion
February 18, 2019
Tooth enamel is a thin clear coating that covers the surface of your tooth. Enamel is designed to protect the underlying tooth and nerves from damage or decay. This hard layer is the hardest substance in your body. However, if this coating wears down or develops weaknesses, it is easier for infection, disease, and decay to enter inside of the tooth. This damage can cause significant discomfort, sensitivities, infection, and eventually tooth loss.
Knowing more about the enamel on your teeth can help you to maintain the existing enamel and promote the buildup of new strong, enamel to protect your teeth further.
What Deteriorates the Enamel?
Tooth enamel can become weakened for a variety of reasons. Sometimes your diet can have a big impact on the health of your enamel. Overly sugary and sweet foods can help to harbor harmful bacteria that wear down enamel. Additionally, poor dental hygiene can further deteriorate your teeth. Regular brushing, flossing, and dental visits can help to remove the bacteria and sugars from the surface of your teeth. The less time that your teeth are exposed to these substances, the less harm comes to your teeth.
Patients who have a dry mouth can also experience more cavities. The presence of saliva in your mouth acts as a rinse to keep foreign substances from staying on your teeth. If you notice that you have dry mouth, talk to your dentist. They can help to identify some strategies for increasing your saliva and promoting good oral health.
Alcohol can also wear down the enamel on your teeth. Many alcohols also contain high amounts of sugar which compound the effects of alcohol to become even more detrimental to your teeth. Drug use and smoking have also been correlated with weak dental enamel and worse overall dental health.
How do you Know When Enamel is Eroding?
Many patients will notice that they suddenly begin having hot and cold sensitivities where they didn’t before. These sensitivities can range in severity and can sometimes become unbearable for patients to eat hot or cold foods or foods that have high acidic content.
Teeth that become yellowed can be a sign of enamel erosion. Rough and uneven teeth on the biting portions of the teeth can also be a signal. These teeth can become especially prone to cracking or breaking as the enamel weakens.
How to Protect Your Enamel
For many patients, a simple change in their oral care habits can have major beneficial impacts on their enamel. Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes and use a toothpaste that contains fluoride (a substance that helps to build enamel). In addition to brushing, floss daily to remove any debris from the interdental spaces that brushing often misses. Many patients also find that using a mouthwash can further help to kill bacteria and remove other food particles that were missed.
You can also change your diet to reduce the amounts of sugars or acidic foods. This can mean cutting back on the sweets, or if you consume soda regularly, it can mean cutting back or removing them from your diet. Additionally, drinking more water can help to maintain healthy saliva production and can also act as a rinse itself.
When drinking juices or sodas, the use of straw can help to minimize the exposure of sugars to your teeth. Dentists also recommend that you can drink a glass of milk after your meal. This helps promote healthy bone growth from the calcium, and milk also neutralizes the acids that you may have consumed during your meal.
If you notice that you are having issues with the enamel covering your teeth, schedule an appointment today. Your dentist can help to restore enamel with in-office treatments or by giving you specific advice that can help to maintain a beautiful, healthy smile.