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Enamel Erosion

Dental enamel is the hard outer coating protecting teeth. The mouth is a harsh environment, and enamel protects teeth from exposure to foods, bacteria, and chemicals. Over time, it can show signs of wear and tear, called enamel erosion. Even though it is tough, enamel can be eroded in many ways.

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Understanding enamel erosion and how it occurs will help you prevent this from happening. If you already have signs of enamel erosion, learn how to treat it.

What Are the Signs of Enamel Erosion?

Tooth enamel erosion can cause symptoms that include:

Enamel Erosion

What Causes Enamel Erosion?

Tooth enamel loss usually occurs because of exposure to acids in foods and beverages. It also occurs because of acid produced by bacteria found in dental plaque. Saliva is a protective fluid that continually works to help neutralize acids in your mouth, protecting your teeth.

Tooth enamel consists of calcium and phosphate, but some minerals are lost over time, weakening its structure. Their loss occurs when bacteria accumulate, producing acid that removes minerals from enamel during a process called demineralization. The same effect occurs if you eat something very acidic.

The process is partially reversed during remineralization, as some minerals remain in your saliva and are redeposited into your tooth enamel. Unfortunately, repeated exposure to these acids will result in enamel erosion over time.

Failing to brush your teeth regularly or consuming too many acidic foods and drinks will cause your enamel to become thinner and degrade gradually.

Which Foods Can Cause Enamel Erosion?

Foods that may cause enamel erosion under the right conditions include:

  • Sugary foods, especially those that are sticky.
  • Starchy foods as these can become trapped around teeth.
  • Acidic foods like apples, citrus fruits, and berries.
  • Fruit juice and sodas. Sodas often contain citric acid and phosphoric acid, as well as sugars.

Other problems that can cause enamel erosion include:

  • Teeth grinding and clenching.
  • Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
  • Xerostomia or insufficient saliva flow.
  • Using certain medications that result in xerostomia.
  • Eating disorders like bulimia expose teeth to strong stomach acids.
  • Genetic disorders that cause teeth to have a thinner enamel than usual.

If you are concerned you may have enamel erosion, please visit My New Jersey Dentist so we can quickly diagnose this problem and discuss how best to treat it.

Can I Reverse Tooth Enamel Erosion?

Tooth enamel has no living cells, so it will not regenerate. However, several treatments are available for tooth enamel restoration and repair.

Fluoride Applications

Suppose you have minor tooth enamel loss, where you have a soft spot in the enamel. In that case, we might be able to re-harden it using topical applications of professional-strength fluoride. Fluoride helps to reverse enamel erosion by replacing some of the minerals lost during enamel erosion, strengthening your tooth enamel.

Dental Bonding

If your tooth enamel loss is more extensive, we may suggest dental bonding. During treatment, tooth-colored composite resin is applied directly to the tooth surface, helping to seal and protect the tooth. Treatment is fast and inexpensive to complete and will hide any discolorations caused by tooth enamel loss.

Dental Crowns or Veneers

If your enamel erosion is extensive, we may suggest protecting the tooth with a dental crown or veneer. A crown or veneer may be necessary if the erosion has resulted in tooth decay. Covering the tooth will help prevent the decay from worsening, restoring your tooth to full strength while ensuring it looks good and feels comfortable.

Can I Prevent Enamel Erosion?

Preventive dentistry can help you maintain strong and healthy tooth enamel for longer. Some easy tips to follow are below.

  1. Regularly brushing your teeth is important to remove dental plaque and eliminate the bacteria that cause enamel erosion.
  2. Use fluoride toothpaste, as this can strengthen your teeth. Some toothpaste is designed to help remineralize tooth enamel.
  3. Eat sugary foods as part of a main meal and try to limit their consumption.
  4. Chew sugar-free gum after meals or when you cannot brush your teeth. Choose gum containing xylitol that helps disrupt the action of acid-forming bacteria.
  5. Eat acidic fruits in moderation, and try to avoid fruit juice.
  6. Ensure your diet contains plenty of calcium and vitamins.
  7. Treat problems like dry mouth or xerostomia; our dental team can help you manage this dental condition.
  8. Drinking plenty of water ensures you can make enough saliva and helps rinse away loose sugars and bacteria.

See your dentist regularly for checkups and hygiene appointments. Removing hardened plaque, called calculus or tartar, removes bacteria that produce acid, protecting your tooth enamel. Dental visits allow our dentist to detect any signs of enamel erosion and provide appropriate treatment before the damage can progress.

Have you noticed signs of enamel erosion? Contact My New Jersey Dentist for a proper evaluation and discussion of how to treat this problem.

Page Updated on May 23, 2024 by Dr. Victoria Kushensky, DDS (Dentist) of My New Jersey Dentist
Victoria Kushensky D.D.S

My name is Victoria Kushensky. I am a general dentist dedicated to remaining at the forefront of my field. Combining compassionate care with extensive knowledge, I offer cosmetic and general dentistry services as well as advanced root canal treatments.

I earned my Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from the esteemed New York University College of Dentistry. Throughout my career, I have honed my skills in various dental procedures, ensuring effective treatment for each patient’s unique needs. I prioritize patient comfort and understanding, taking the time to thoroughly explain procedures and address any questions.

More about Dr. Kushensky

My NJ Dentist: Victoria Kushensky, DDS
385 Prospect Ave Suite 304
Hackensack, NJ 07601
(201) 298-8000