Enamel Erosion is damage caused by acid attacks that weaken your tooth enamel, which is then worn away.
Enamel erosion and acid attacks are invisible and easy to miss, yet they can affect anyone at any age. Modern diets that include acidic foods and drinks such as apples, orange juice, fizzy drinks and wine have led to an increase in enamel erosion. These acids are different from the ones that cause tooth decay. Tooth erosion can occur alongside other types of tooth wear such as abrasion which grinds the teeth away and the two conditions will make each other worse.
1 in 2 adults have signs of enamel erosion and this number is increasing
Symptoms of Acid erosion?
Mild erosion may be symptomless or show a sand blasted look or tips of teeth especially front teeth look transparent. But the first sign of erosion may be sensitivity to hot, cold or sweet foods. The tooth may become increasingly painful as the pulp at the centre is affected and gradually s the enamel dissolves away, the teeth may become shorter and darker(yellow).
This makes the teeth weaker and can chip causing roughness of teeth
How can erosion be treated?
It is important erosion is treated early to prevent it getting worse so regular dental checks are vital as well as raising the issue with the dentist if you are concerned. The dentist will monitor the changes in the teeth and discuss diet and other issues that may be causing the acidity. Changes in eating habits may be enough if the erosion is mild however restorative treatment like fillings and crowns possibly mouthguards may be needed if it is severe. Facial changes due to tooth wear may need addressing to prevent problems to jaw joints and eating.
Prevention is essential, to stop the erosion becoming worse. There are several things one can do:
- Diet-cut down on acidic foods and drinks, especially fruit based soft and fizzy drinks. Restrict them to mealtimes when saliva levels are high and help neutralise the acids. Do not swish or leave the drink in your mouth for a long time.
- Use a daily fluoride mouth rinse or bubble up mouth after brushing as toothpaste contains fluoride (unless fluoride free)
- Good oral hygiene. However DO NOT clean your teeth immediately after a fruit juice or other acidic drink-the teeth are softer following contact with the acid, and brushing them will literally scrub away the surface. Wait for at least an hour.
- Drink acidic drinks through a straw. This has been found to help some people because the drink then bypasses the front teeth.
- Rinse your mouth with water after soft or fizzy drinks -this helps to re-establish the natural pH of your mouth.
- Encourage children to have milk or water between meals
- See your dentist for further advice if you think you have dental erosion
- Please call Whitestar Dental Practice on 0208 427 1800 for an appointment