Everyday activities such as eating and drinking cause some degree of tooth enamel erosion at some point in nearly everyone’s lifetime. However, because tooth enamel is not comprised of living tissue, it doesn’t have the regenerative powers of certain other bodily elements such as skin — once your enamel is gone, it’s gone. Fortunately, strategies exist designed to help minimize tooth enamel erosion. They are:
Brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing regularly
Avoiding hard candy
Reducing sugary beverages
Drinking beverages through a straw to reduce exposure to tooth surfaces
Visiting your dentist for checkups and cleanings twice per year
Other causes of tooth enamel degradation include eating too many acidic foods, grinding your teeth at night, having dry mouth due to health conditions or specific medication side effects, and having acid reflux.
Signs of Tooth Enamel Loss
Those whose teeth experience higher than average sensitivity to hot and cold temperature extremes probably have developed a degree of tooth enamel loss. Other signs are teeth that have significantly yellowed or have otherwise become discolored, teeth that easily chip or fracture, and teeth that have a slightly translucent appearance. You may also notice rough edges and shiny spots on teeth that have lost some of their enamel.
Tooth enamel loss causes the internal tissues of the teeth to become vulnerable to damage by plaque and bacteria. Your dentist may recommend specific dental care products, such as enamel-protective toothpaste, to minimize this damage. These often work by neutralizing the bacteria and plaque present in the mouth to minimize the amount of damage they can do. Antibacterial mouthwashes also may be recommended.
Dental Procedures That Can Help
Although the best defense against the erosion of tooth enamel is to practice good oral hygiene regularly to help reduce the chances of it happening in the first place, there are measures your dentist can take if tooth enamel erosion is severe enough so that it interferes with the patient’s quality of life. Bonding, a process in which a material called resin in applied over damaged or stained teeth, is among the most popular. For teeth that have experienced significant enamel loss, the dentist may recommend using veneers or crowns. All of these choices help prevent further damage by providing a barrier between the teeth and outside substances.
Please don’t hesitate to call us if you have questions or concerns regarding enamel loss or other dental health issues.