Dental erosion is the loss of tooth structure due to exposure to acids. Coupled with even a small imperfection in the bite that causes wear, teeth can get severely damaged.
Erosion can dissolve the tooth enamel (outer protective cover of teeth) and expose the dentine (inner delicate part of the tooth). Once exposed, dentine will wear faster than enamel. Erosion can cause the teeth to become sensitive, yellow in colour, and can lead to decay. Dental erosion is a silent epidemic.
Dental erosion can be caused by sugary/acidic drinks, medication, diabetes and many other factors and can be worsened greatly by tooth wear.
Prevent your teeth from suffering dental erosion by:
Drink plenty of water – fluoridated tap water is best
Restrict acidic beverages to main meals – the effect of acidic drinks is reduced when consumed with food
Limit your daily intake of fruit juice, soft, sports and energy drinks, herbal teas and alcohol
Use a soft toothbrush and brush your teeth twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste
Chew sugar-free gum
Visit your dentist for regular six monthly checkups – the amount of money it will cost for regular dentist checkups is minimal compared to what the cost may be if your teeth go unchecked for a long period of time
Keep your teeth healthy with regular brushing, flossing and rinsing.
Avoid holding or ‘swishing’ drinks around your mouth as this increases the likelihood of dental decay and enamel erosion
Use a straw when drinking soft drink and juices as much as possible to minimise the acid exposure to teeth
If you do drink juices, soft, sports or energy drinks, try to consume them chilled, as cooler temperatures have been shown to be less likely to cause tooth erosion
After consuming acidic beverages, don’t brush your teeth right away – brushing can remove the softened tooth layer (resulting from the acidic exposure), increasing the amount of tooth loss. Wait one hour before brushing teeth.
Tooth erosion can be very costly to repair. Restorative treatment can vary from simple procedures such as resin bonding to more complex treatments such as multiple crowns.