The ins and outs of Dental Erosion
Dental erosion is losing the surface of your teeth due to acids. Acid can come from food, drinks or coming up from your stomach.
First of all, let’s start by explaining what dental erosion actually is. There are 3 main layers of a tooth, the ‘inside’ of the tooth is made up of the pulp which contains the nerve of the tooth. The next layer is the dentine which is a much harder material than the pulp, it contains thousands of tiny little tubules that lead towards the pulp. Then, the very outer surface of the tooth is called the enamel. The enamel is almost like the protective shell of the tooth, it is a very hard substance, much harder than dentine and even harder than bone!
Unfortunately, some foods and drinks can eat away or ‘dissolve’ the enamel over time. Anything acidic, with a low pH generally has the ability to dissolve the enamel. This can include;
Side effects of tooth erosion:
Once erosion has occurred to the enamel, it is not reversible. Erosion can be identified during your 6 monthly check and clean appointments and we can help to determine what is the cause of it and come up with a management plan which will include close monitoring.
If your erosion is diet related then reducing your frequency of intake of the causative agents can help. The longer you expose your teeth to sugary and acidic foods and drinks, the longer it will take for the mouth to recover from the acid attacks. Switch to drinking water where possible and if you drink soft drink, try to limit it to meal times and consume it in the one sitting rather than sipping at it throughout the day. Avoid swishing the acidic drink around your mouth and consider drinking it through a straw instead to avoid contact with the teeth.
If you have consumed acidic foods and drinks, avoid brushing your teeth for 30 minutes afterwards, to allow your saliva to re-mineralise any demineralised (softened) enamel that has occurred. Fluoride toothpastes can also help to protect the teeth from the early stages of erosion.
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