What’s Dental Erosion?

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Dental erosion is the permanent loss of tooth due to acid degradation. It cannot be reversed, but can be stopped and treated with modern techniques. The most common cause is the consumption of acidic foods and drinks, regurgitation of stomach acids, and exposure to pool water. Good dental hygiene habits can minimize the chances of developing dental erosion.

Dental erosion is the permanent loss of all or part of a tooth due to the gradual chemical degradation of the tooth. This cracking is triggered by the introduction of a certain type of acid to the tooth surface. When regular dental hygiene is not practiced, the acid first gradually wears away the enamel covering the outside of the tooth, then progresses to begin breaking down the dentin which forms the main body of the tooth. Unlike many health problems, dental erosion cannot be reversed. The only solutions are to stop the erosion and use modern techniques to rebuild the damaged area of ​​the tooth or to replace the tooth altogether.

The most common origin of dental erosion has to do with the types of foods and drinks that are consumed. Many of these substances contain amounts of acid that will begin to eat away at tooth enamel if allowed to linger on the surface. Some people are surprised to learn that fruit juices can do a lot of damage to teeth. Likewise, carbonated drinks also contain enough acid to cause harm. The erosion of dental enamel can also be triggered by the components present in most wines.

The regurgitation of stomach acids can also lead to erosion of the dental enamel. In situations where the individual is unable to keep food down, the regurgitation process brings out not only the remains of food, but also some of the gastric acid that is used to break down the food once it reaches the stomach. These acids can stick to the tooth surface and start the process of dental erosion.

A third trigger of dental erosion has to do with pool water. The chlorine used to keep swimming pool water clean can have a devastating effect on tooth enamel. While it’s highly unlikely that anyone will knowingly drink pool water, most people manage to get some amount of chlorinated liquid in their mouth when they dive or swim in a pool. Over time, constant exposure to chlorine will weaken the enamel and begin to degrade the underlying dentin.

There are two ways to know if dental erosion is occurring. First, the appearance of the teeth will change. Instead of a healthy white, your teeth will start to take on a dull white appearance that eventually takes on a yellow hue. At the same time, the teeth become more sensitive to hot and cold liquids. As the enamel weakens, the chance of developing cavities and other dental problems increases.

Unfortunately, there is no treatment for dental erosion that can reverse the course of the erosion. Usually, the best that can be done is to stop the process at the current level and use various strategies to replace or rebuild the damaged teeth. This often involves procedures such as installing fillings or even replacing sections of the teeth with partial plates.
Minimizing the chances of developing dental erosion starts with developing good dental hygiene habits. Brushing your teeth after a meal or snack is very important in removing excess acids from your teeth. Regular use of a mouthwash or mouthwash will also help keep the surface of your teeth relatively free from decay. Flossing regularly will remove any acid residue that can get trapped between your teeth. Your dentist can help you make informed choices about the type of toothbrush that’s best for your situation, as well as recommend the type of toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash that’s right for you.

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