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Tooth Erosion Causes and Treatments

By drparr on February 10, 2015


An older woman with a healthy, white smileOur teeth are at constant risk of erosion. The foods we eat, poor oral hygiene, or the friction created by chewing are just a few of the major contributors to dental erosion. Fortunately, you can take steps to reduce tooth erosion. Restorative dentistry treatments can repair the damage of tooth erosion and restore the appearance and health of your smile. To find out which treatments are right for you, we invite you to schedule a consultation with our team at The Smile Center in Virginia Beach.

What Causes Tooth Erosion

Tooth erosion is a gradual process caused by the wearing away of dental enamel. Enamel is important to dental health because it protects the inner layers of the tooth, including the nerve and pulp tissue, from decay and infection. As enamel wears, the teeth are left vulnerable to decay, painful toothaches, and even tooth loss. By understanding the causes of tooth erosion, you can prevent tooth erosion. The common causes of tooth erosion include:

  • Plaque and tartar buildup: Plaque and tartar, the mineralized form of plaque, are one of the leading causes of tooth erosion. Plaque and tartar are made up of food remnants and bacteria that feed off the sugar in these food remnants. As bacteria feed on sugar, they excrete acid. This acid is corrosive to dental enamel, leading to tooth erosion over time.
  • Consuming foods and drinks with high acidic levels: The acid in foods and drinks can also erode dental enamel. Regularly consuming acidic foods like citrus fruits, wine, fruit juices, and soft drinks is a leading cause of tooth erosion.
  • Consuming high amounts of sugar: Eating or drinking foods high in sugar is another major cause of tooth erosion. Sugary foods and drinks cause erosion by increasing plaque and bacteria levels in the mouth.
  • Acid reflux and vomiting: Acid reflux is a condition in which stomach acid comes up the esophagus, sometimes reaching the mouth. Vomiting is another condition that allows stomach acid to come into contact with the teeth. Like acids in foods, stomach acid, whether from acid reflux or vomiting, can erode the tooth's enamel.
  • Chronic dry mouth: Those who suffer from dry mouth are more likely to experience tooth erosion. This is because saliva plays an important role in oral health. Saliva washes away food particles and neutralizes acids within our mouths.  
  • Brushing the teeth too hard: Some people thingk the harder they brush, the cleaner the teeth will be. Brushing with too much pressure and using a hard bristled toothbrush can actually wear away the enamel, leading to tooth erosion.
  • Teeth grinding: Chronic teeth grinding creates friction between the teeth, leading to tooth erosion.

Treating Tooth Erosion

You can reduce your risk of tooth erosion by avoiding acidic, sugary foods and drinks, practicing proper oral hygiene, and seeking treatment for issues like dry mouth or acid reflux, if you suffer from them. Though preventing tooth erosion is preferable, there are many treatments to repair damage and restore dental health. Treatments for tooth erosion include:

  • Tooth-colored dental fillings: Tooth-colored dental fillings are a great option for cavities caused by tooth erosion.
  • Dental bonding or porcelain veneers: Dental bonding and porcelain veneers can be used to repair mild erosion on the front facing teeth.
  • Porcelain dental crowns: For those who suffer from major tooth decay as a result of tooth erosion, porcelain crowns may be a good fit.
  • Dental sealants: Dental sealants are a thin protective coating, which can be applied to the molars to prevent decay and erosion.
  • See your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings: Regular check-ups and professional cleanings are key to keeping the teeth free of corrosive plaque and tartar buildup, as well as catching tooth erosion at its earliest stages.  

Schedule a Consultation

For more information, schedule a consultation with our team at The Smile Center today!

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