How Enamel Erosion Can Ruin Your Smile

family smiling with blue skies

Enamel erosion rarely tops a parent’s long list of worries. But the deterioration of enamel, which is caused by common foods and health conditions, can weaken, or even destroy, your teeth. Read here about how to prevent the harmful effects of enamel erosion.

Is your child a prankster who often sticks a lemon wedge in his mouth? Does she grab a Sprite from the fridge whenever possible? Be careful, as these foods and drinks increase acidity levels in your mouth, which can ruin your smile.

When our teeth are overexposed to acidity, enamel erosion occurs. Because enamel is the shell that protects our teeth, when it starts to thin, it can make teeth weak, yellow and more prone to disease.

The Negative Effects of Enamel Erosion On Your Teeth

  1. This photo. Enamel erosion can make your teeth look brittle and unhealthy. It may ruin the fun in flashing your smile.
  2. Hypersensitivity. Enamel acts as a shell, protecting our teeth from temperature changes, specifically cold. Some people even develop sensitivity to biting and chewing.
  3. More decay. Enamel also acts as a sealant that wards off decay. You are more prone to cavities when it disappears.
  4. Chipped or broken teeth. Once your enamel goes, so does the strength of your teeth, making them more susceptible to chipping and breaking. Ouch.
  5. Yellowing. Enamel is what makes our teeth white. If it erodes, dentin, which is a tissue that exists underneath your creamy enamel, moves front and center. Without any enamel tissue to coat it, dentin can make our teeth appear yellow.

Keep in mind that because enamel contains no living cells, it cannot regenerate itself. When it is gone, it is gone for good.

What can your dentist do for enamel erosion?

Tooth bonding is a common way to treat enamel erosion. In this procedure, your dentist will apply a tooth-colored resin material to your unhealthy tooth, and harden the material with a special light.

The material “bonds” with the natural tooth, providing restoration, extra protection and improved cosmetic appearance.

Otherwise, a crown may be used to cover the tooth if the enamel is significantly deteriorated. This will protect it from further decay.

What causes enamel erosion?

Enamel erosion is most commonly caused by too much acidity. However, other health and dental conditions can also contribute. Take caution if you or someone in your family regularly consumes these common foods and beverages, or has any of the following health problems.

Limes and lemons. Lemons and limes are both riddled with acidity, and if they come into frequent direct contact with your teeth, it can be a recipe for disaster.

I once watched my brother-in-law suck on a lemon at the dinner table, and it nearly gave me a heart attack! I spent 10 minutes lecturing him during our meal. Parents, now that you are aware of the consequences, do not hesitate to inform your kids.

Hard candy, lozenges. When these candies sit in your mouth, your pH level drops, thus making the oral environment more acidic. Watch your intake on these.

Excessive soft drink consumption. These have high levels of phosphoric and citric acids.

Acid reflux disease. This contributes to more acidity in your mouth. This disease can be treated with medication, or diet and lifestyle changes.

Frequent vomiting. Bulimia and alcoholism are two disorders that cause a lot of vomiting, which increases acidity levels in your mouth.

Bruxism. Excessive teeth clenching or grinding, called bruxism, increases friction between the surfaces of your teeth, causing enamel to disintegrate. This can happen whether you are awake or asleep. Use a mouthguard to prevent damage.


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