Your teeth are extraordinarily strong; able to withstand immense pressure and friction from decades of biting, chewing, and grinding. However, your teeth are still subject to wear-and-tear, especially if you aren’t careful about how you treat them. From soft drinks to hard-bristle toothbrushes, many factors can contribute to tooth erosion.
At ChapmanSmiles Orthodontics in Happy Valley, Clackamas, Oregon, orthodontist Dr. Gary Chapman can help you with all your cosmetic and functional dentistry needs. If you’ve suffered from tooth erosion, a smile makeover can help repair the damage done and give you a smile you can be proud of.
An overview of tooth erosion
Enamel is the hardest tissue produced by the human body, even stronger than bone. There’s a tough enamel shell on each of your teeth, protecting the dentin underneath and the root within. If the enamel is breached or worn away, it can cause a host of issues.
Here are a few common complications caused by tooth erosion:
- Increased sensitivity to temperature
- Increased risk of cracks, chips, and fractures
- Indentations on the teeth, known as cups
- Smooth, shiny spots on the teeth
- Discoloration or yellowing
- Rough edges
If left untreated, the enamel on your teeth will continue to wear away. Not only will this cause sensitivity and pain, but it leaves your teeth vulnerable to decay.
With proper maintenance and mindfulness, you can preserve your remaining enamel, but you might need to rethink your dietary habits and hygiene routine.
Two of the biggest contributing factors to tooth erosion are sugar and acid. Acid eats away at your enamel, while sugar attracts and feeds bacteria that cause gingivitis and tooth decay. Foods with notable amounts of sugar and acid include:
- Carbonated drinks
- Fruit juices, especially lemonade and orange juice
- Fruits, including citrus, berries, and apples
- Sugary foods, especially hard candies and caramel
- Sour candy, which contains high levels of sugar and acid
You don’t have to cut these things from your diet entirely. Just staying hydrated, rinsing after meals, and brushing regularly can cut down on erosion and decay immensely. However, what you eat is just one part of the problem. Other contributing factors include:
- Bruxism, or grinding your teeth while stressed or asleep
- Brushing too hard, with a harsh toothbrush or gritty toothpaste
- Dry mouth, which encourages production of bacteria and acid
- Smoking, which leaves your mouth dry and speeds up decay
- Eating disorders or alcohol misuse, which cause vomiting
Preventing further erosion
The most difficult part about tooth erosion is that enamel is a non-renewable resource. There’s no blood flow to your enamel, so your body can’t grow more to replace it. Instead, you have to slow down the erosion process and preserve your remaining enamel.
This might involve quitting cigarettes, buying a gentler toothbrush, or getting fitted for a mouthguard. However, if your enamel loss is moderate or severe, you might need to ask your dentist about more permanent solutions.
At ChapmanSmiles, Dr. Chapman can evaluate your teeth and determine the severity of the erosion. If necessary, he might suggest a smile makeover to restore your teeth.
To learn more about tooth erosion and discuss your options, schedule a consultation with Dr. Chapman by calling 503-336-1883, requesting an appointment online, or visiting the contact page for more options.