You take great care of your teeth because you know the risks: cavities, infection, tooth loss, etc. However, even if you do everything you should, your enamel may be eroding.
Check out these four facts about enamel erosion:
Acid Can Erode Enamel
Enamel erosion isn’t your typical dental problem. True, failure to brush and floss regularly can lead to erosion because it allows bacteria to attack your teeth, weaken enamel and lead to cavities. However, even if you take great care of your teeth, you can still suffer from weakened enamel. This is because acid is a huge culprit of eroding enamel.
So many foods and beverages contain high levels of certain acids that attack enamel. This includes soft drinks, fruit juice and wine. Plus, foods and beverages that are high in sugar and starches can erode enamel, too. Additionally, if you develop acid reflux disease from a bad diet, this too could increase the level of acid in your mouth and cause erosion.
Aggressive Brushing Can Cause Enamel Erosion, Too
Yes, it is possible to be too enthusiastic with your oral hygiene. When you eat sugary or acidic foods, you may feel the need to aggressively brush your teeth to eliminate all that plaque. Plaque, however, is easy to remove with a light touch. When you aggressively brush your teeth, you can actually damage the enamel and wear it away.
If you do brush your teeth hard right after eating foods that have a lot of acid, the risk of wearing down your enamel increases. Acidic foods and beverages soften your enamel for a while. If you roughly brush your teeth while the enamel is soft, it’s easier to scratch it away. If you do eat something high in acid, don’t brush right after. Instead, rinse your mouth with water. Brush later, and don’t be aggressive.
Changing Habits Saves Existing Enamel
To prevent further erosion, change your habits. It would be best if you cut out the acidic beverages and foods completely. However, that can be difficult; our suggestion is to try to cut back. When you do drink soda, fruit juice or wine, try to drink it through a straw or only with a full meal. When you are done, rinse your mouth with water.
If the problem is that you are brushing too hard, ask your dentist to show you how to brush properly. You can also switch to a soft-bristled brush, so even if you do brush a little harder than you should, it won’t erode as much enamel.
Enamel Cannot Be Regrown
Unfortunately, the enamel you have lost cannot be regrown. Just like you cannot re-grow a bone, the lost enamel is gone for good. If you haven’t eroded much enamel, work with your dentist to make healthy choices that can preserve what you have and prevent future erosion.
If too much enamel has been lost, your teeth could be susceptible to severe decay. In this case, your dentist may suggest treatments that could replace the enamel. The dentist can’t replace the enamel with more enamel, but treatments like dental bonding, veneers and crowns cover the tooth like enamel, blocking bacteria and acid.
Erosion of enamel can happen to anyone. Even if you take great care of your teeth, poor eating habits can be wearing down the protective barrier of your teeth. Once this is gone, it cannot be regrown, and your teeth become extremely vulnerable. For more information on tooth erosion, or if you think you may have some erosion, contact Landmark Dental Group today.