The underlying layers of the teeth are protected by the outer covering of the tooth, which is called the tooth’s enamel. The enamel of the teeth happens to be the hardest tissue in the body. Even though it is so strong, it is still susceptible to damage. The constant presence of high acidic content in the mouth slowly wears away the enamel of the teeth. This wearing away of tooth enamel results in tooth erosion. The damaging effects of tooth erosion can cause immense pain and threatens the aesthetics of the teeth. Damage resulting from tooth erosion is irreversible. At his practice in Edmonton, dentist Nathaniel Podilsky discusses the causes of tooth erosion so that patients can prevent further damage to their teeth.
Symptoms of Tooth Erosion
The symptoms of tooth erosion can vary from person to person. A person in the early stages of tooth erosion may not experience the same symptoms as a person in the later stages of tooth erosion. Common symptoms of tooth erosion, include:
- Discoloration: The dentin lying under the enamel of a tooth gives the tooth its color. As the tooth enamel erodes the dentin becomes exposed. Because of this, the teeth will appear slightly yellow to dark yellow.
- Changes in appearance: Tooth erosion may give the teeth a shiny or “sand blasted” appearance.
- Sensitivity: A patient may experience a slight twinge of pain when eating or drinking hot or cold foods or beverages, or when exposing the teeth to cold or hot temperatures
- Severe sensitivity: In the later stages of tooth erosion, tooth sensitivity may become severe. A patient may experience severe tooth pain when the teeth are exposed to cold or hot temperatures, beverages, or foods.
- Chips and cracks: Chips and cracks may develop in teeth that are weakened by tooth erosion. In such cases, dental crowns may be recommended. Dental crowns offer support, strength, protection and stability to damaged teeth.
- Cupping: Little dents may form in teeth affected by tooth erosion.
Causes of Tooth Erosion
There are many factors that may promote the erosion of the tooth’s enamel. A patient’s diet plays a key role in the erosion of tooth enamel. Foods and beverages that are high in acidic content should be avoided or consumed in moderation. Examples of foods and beverages that contain medium to high acidic content include:
- Juice: grapefruit juice, cranberry juice, orange juice, and apple juice
- Carbonated beverages including soda pop
- Apple cider
- Fruits: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, grapefruit, pineapple, cherries, strawberries, limes, lemons, pomegranates, nectarines, apples, figs, pears, mangos, peaches, oranges and grapes
- Salad dressing
- Jams and jellies
- White wine
- Red wine
Other causes of tooth erosion include:
- Dry mouth
- Certain medications such as aspirin
- Certain medical conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Grinding your teeth
- Biting or chewing on hard objects such as fingernails
- Brushing your teeth too hard
If you would like to learn more about tooth erosion and how it affects the health and aesthetics of the teeth, please call or email Dr. Nathaniel Podilsky’s dental team today.