Tooth Erosion: The Causes of Acidic Damage and Your Dental Treatment Options

An older couple smiling while outdoors togetherWhen patients come to Smile Solutions by Emmi Dental Associates here in Wilmington, they can expect the best in advanced dental care. We combine state-of-the-art restorative dentistry for enhancing dental health and wellness with the latest cosmetic dentistry procedures in order to enhance smile aesthetics. This is all done with an emphasis on patient education to empower everyone who stops by the office.

With that in mind, we would like to take a few moments to consider the nature of tooth erosion, a dental problem that many people experience but do not understand.

What is tooth erosion?

Also known as acidic erosion and dental erosion, tooth erosion refers to the damage or wasting away of tooth enamel that occurs as a result of an acidic pH in the mouth. This erosion of the tooth structure leads to yellowing of the teeth because the underlying dentin layer of the tooth becomes more exposed/visible.

Over time, the erosion can become so pronounced that it leads to major exposure of the underlying dentin. Major tooth damage and tooth injury can occur in such instances.

How is tooth erosion different from tooth decay?

While many people think that tooth erosion and tooth decay are the same, this is actually not the case. Tooth decay is actually caused by the oral bacteria in the mouth rather than an acidic pH in the mouth. Both are damaging to dental health, but their root causes differ.

Substances That Result in Acidic pH

Some of the common substances that result in a more acidic pH in the mouth include the following:

  • Soft drinks
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Fruit juices
  • Coffee
  • Vinegar

Conditions Linked to Tooth Erosion

Tooth erosion is also linked to a few other conditions:

  • Dry Mouth – Lack of saliva leads to a more acidic pH in the mouth
  • Alcoholism – In addition to increased oral acidity due to various alcoholic beverages, vomiting as a result of too much drinking can also contribute to acid erosion
  • Bulimia – In addition to severe weight loss, a telltale sign of this serious eating disorder is tooth erosion

Treatment Options for Tooth Erosion

In order to treat tooth erosion, the best option is often the use of various dental restorations to rebuild the eroded tooth structure. For major erosion, dental crowns are often the best option. Your dentist will be able to assess your situation and devise an ideal treatment during your visit.

If a tooth has been too severely damaged to be saved, the ideal option for treatment may actually be the extraction of the tooth. Once the tooth is removed, a bridge or dental implant may be paced in the gap to help restore appearance and function. Again, this can be discussed with your dentist in more detail during your visit.

Tips for Preventing Tooth Erosion

Here are a few tips for preventing excessive acidity in the mouth and promoting a more balanced or alkali oral pH:

  • Drink water with every meal and stay well-hydrated through the day
  • Finish your meals with a slice of cheese or another alkali food to offset acidity
  • Avoid or be wary of substances listed above that increase oral acidity
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day
  • Floss at least once a night
  • Meet with your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings

Speak with Our Dental Care Specialists About Your Health

For more information about your treatment options for tooth erosion and many other dental health issues, be sure to contact our family dental care center today. The team at Smile Solutions by Emmi Dental Associates will work closely with you to ensure that your smile is as beautiful and health as possible.