The Causes of Tooth Erosion and How It Can Be Treated

The Causes of Tooth Erosion and How It Can Be Treated

Restorative Dentistry, General Dental Care
PGA Dentistry
July 03, 2014
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At the PGA Center for Advanced Dentistry here in Palm Beach Gardens, we believe in proper treatment as well as expert prevention. This is particularly important for issues that affect the overall strength of a tooth. This is why we offer the latest in restorative dentistry techniques and technologies as well as advanced general dental care, allowing us to best serve every patient who visits the practice.

One issue that we notice a fair amount in patients is tooth erosion, which is a distinct issue from tooth decay. We'd like to discuss this matter in basic terms right now.

About Tooth Erosion

Also known as dental erosion and acid erosion, tooth erosion refers to the damage done to the enamel on the teeth when a person has an acidic pH in their mouth. The acidic pH will weaken overall tooth structure with time and leave the teeth discolored and worn, making cracks and breaks of the tooth more likely.

How is tooth erosion different from cavities/tooth decay?

While many people think that tooth erosion and tooth decay are the same, they are actually different. Both problems lead to tooth damage, but the causes differ.

Tooth decay is caused by oral bacteria that naturally occur in the mouth. After feeding on food particles on the teeth, the bacteria produce a harmful substance known as plaque that eats away at tooth structure.

With this in mind, it is possible for tooth decay and tooth erosion to occur simultaneously.

Common Causes of Tooth Erosion

The most common causes of tooth erosion are as follows:

  • Citrus juices

  • Soft drinks

  • Beer

  • Coffee

  • Vinegar

  • Acid reflux

  • Gastric fluid

Note: Tooth Erosion as a Sign of an Eating Disorder

You'll note gastric fluid as a cause of tooth erosion above. This refers to the acid found in the digestive tract contained in vomit. One of the most signs of bulimia is tooth erosion. It's important for parents to note any major changes in their child's weight as well as a decline in their dental health so that their child can receive professional treatment for their eating disorder as soon as possible.

Treating Tooth Erosion

In order to treat tooth erosion, the best option is restorative care. This means the use of dental fillings, inlays, onlays, or dental crowns in order to rebuild the damaged tooth structure and restore the overall health of the patient's damaged teeth. The ideal dental restoration for the patient will be defined by the extent of the damage.

If the tooth erosion is a side effect of bulimia or a digestive tract problem of some kind, it's important that the patient undergoes medical treatment to address the root cause of the tooth erosion. This will prevent further problems with oral pH in the future.

Tips for Preventing Tooth Erosion

Here are a few things that you can do to improve the pH of your mouth and prevent acid erosion:

  • Drink water to stay hydrated and balance your mouth's pH

  • Rinse your mouth out with water after having an acidic beverage

  • Reduce your intake of soft drinks

  • Drink acidic beverages through a straw to prevent contact with the teeth

  • Wait at least an hour to brush your teeth after having an acidic beverage

  • Use fluoride toothpaste to help strengthen your tooth enamel

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to prevent damage to your tooth enamel

Schedule a Consultation for Advanced Dental Treatment

For more information about tooth erosion and how our team can treat this dental problem, be sure to visit the PGA Center for Advanced Dentistry. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Jay Ajmo, contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry practice today. We look forward to seeing you in person.

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