Tooth Enamel Loss

This blog is all about the damage to the outermost covering of teeth called the tooth enamel. This blog is a must read for any and everyone who cares for his/ her dental health. 

What is tooth enamel? 

Tooth enamel is the outermost clear layer of the tooth. Its function is to protect the teeth from physical and chemical damage. You can imagine it to be like the egg shell that protects the yolk of the egg from any damage. Tooth enamel is the hardest tissue in the human body, harder than even the bones but despite being the hardest tissue it is still prone to wear and tear. This wear and tear of the tooth enamel is also called tooth enamel loss or tooth enamel erosion. This is very critical for dental health because it is the first defence of the teeth against all foods and fluids and once it wears down it cannot be re grown. Hence tooth enamel loss is something all of us must be concerned about. The tooth enamel loss can be prevented but not reversed. With good dental care this is possible. 

What causes enamel erosion? 

Acids can wear down the enamel leading to enamel loss. Some common reasons that can cause tooth enamel loss are as follows – 

  1. Sugary drinks – The acids in fruit drinks are powerful and can wear down the enamel thereby exposing the yellow dentin underneath the enamel. 
  1. Soft drinks – These contain phosphoric and citric acids.  
  1. Poor dental hygiene – If you don’t brush and floss your teeth regularly then the bacteria in your mouth thrive and when they break the food particles in between your teeth they produce acids that can erode the enamel. 
  1. Eating too many carbs, starches and sugars – This is like a feast for the bacteria in the mouth leading to greater erosion of the enamel. 
  1. Candies – Hard or soft candies are sugary and some like the sour candies also have acid. 
  1. Consumption of alcohol can be harmful for the teeth. 
  1. Some people suffer from gastro intestinal problems or GERD (acid reflux). This acid reflux brings the strong acids of the stomach into the mouth leading to erosion of teeth enamel. 
  1. People who suffer from xerostomia or dry mouth also face enamel loss. This is because they do not produce enough saliva which reduces the acids in the mouth to bring them to an acceptable level. 
  1. Other reasons include medications, genetics and environmental factors like grinding of teeth, cracking or chipping of teeth that may cause your tooth enamel to erode. 

Symptoms of tooth enamel loss 

How would I know if my tooth enamel is eroding? Here are some signs you can look out for – 

  1. Sensitivity – If your teeth have become sensitive to fluctuations in the temperatures and certain textures and tastes like sweets you may be early stages of enamel erosion. If there is extreme pain while eating or chewing things this may later stages of enamel erosion. 
  1. Discoloration of teeth – Enamel is clear but the layer beneath it which is called dentin is yellow so if your enamel is eroding your teeth will start appearing yellowish indicating enamel loss. 
  1. Smooth and shiny surfaces of the teeth indicate mineral loss. 
  1. If your tooth is cracking or chipping easily this also is a sign of enamel erosion. 
  1. Dents appear on the chewing surfaces of the teeth in case of severe enamel erosion. This is called cupping by the dentists. 

It is important that you arrest this tooth enamel loss as it can lead to major problems like – 

  1. Cavities 
  1. Fractures in the tooth 
  1. Tooth abscess 
  1. Tooth loss 

 What can I do to prevent or arrest loss of tooth enamel? 

  1. The most important thing you can do is follow good oral hygiene. Make sure you brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day properly. Brush with a soft bristled brush and do not brush harshly. 
  1. Avoid eating too many carbs, sugary drinks, coffee, tea, wine, alcohol, tobacco products and candies.  If you are going to consume the same do it in moderation. 
  1. Chew sugarless gum – chewing sugarless gums promotes saliva production which helps balance out the acids in the mouth. Chewing sugarless gum also helps in removing sugar, food and plaque from the teeth. 
  1. Drink more water to keep the mouth hydrated and ensuring the environment in the mouth does not become too acidic especially if you suffer from dry mouth. 
  1. If you have any acidic substance, rinse your mouth with water immediately after consumption. Brush only after 1 hour of consumption to let saliva do its job. 
  1. Try to fix the underlying problems like GERD and gastro problems that are increasing the acids in your mouth. 
  1. Wear mouth or night guard to avoid grinding of the teeth. 
  1. Use fluoride toothpaste and mouthwashes.   
  1. Check with your dentist if sealants can help prevent the tooth enamel loss. 

These are some things that you can do to prevent or slow down the tooth enamel loss. If you feel you have significant tooth enamel loss we advise you to see your family dentist immediately. They may suggest tooth bonding, crowns or veneers as a solution depending on the problem. 

If you have more queries you can always call Ensure Dental Care (the family dentist near you) on 940-274-3229 for more information or to schedule an appointment. Ensure Dental Care is the one of the best family dental clinics at Saginaw Texas. We accept all major insurance providers. We also have in house payment plan. We have a very experienced team of dental practitioners and we look forward to serving you the best of our abilities.  

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