Tooth erosion has many causes. Some of these causes are unavoidable, such as daily wear and tear, while others, like certain foods and drinks, can be avoided. Severe tooth erosion is dangerous to oral health and can result in dental pain and tooth loss. We offer our Madison cosmetic dentistry patients a wide variety of treatments to help prevent erosion and repair damage. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Jay Hazen and Sarah J. Karls for your personalized treatment plan.
What Is Tooth Erosion and What Are the Causes?
Tooth erosion is essentially a loss of tooth enamel, the tooth’s natural protective layer. This can result in dental pain and tooth decay. Enamel is important to dental health, as it provides a barrier that prevents bacteria from reaching the inner structures of the teeth. A common symptom of enamel loss is increased tooth sensitivity. This is caused by the exposure of the inner dentin layer, which allows hot and cold temperatures to reach the tooth’s nerve.
There are a number of causes of tooth erosion. Some of the causes include:
- Foods and Drinks: Acidic, sugary foods and drinks are very corrosive to the teeth. Consumption of such foods and drinks can erode the enamel and cause damage to the teeth.
- Improper Oral Hygiene: Another cause of tooth erosion is inadequately caring for your teeth. Bacterial buildup eats away at the tooth’s enamel, causing damage and decay.
- Teeth Grinding: Teeth grinding can be very destructive, and the force of it can cause tooth erosion. Untreated teeth grinding can lead to cracks in the teeth and severely wearing down of the teeth.
- Dry Mouth: Saliva serves an important role of flushing away bacteria. Dry mouth is a condition in which not enough saliva is produced. This can lead to bacterial build-up.
- Aggressive Tooth Brushing: Aggressive tooth brushing can also lead to tooth erosion by wearing down the surface of the teeth.
The Dangers of Tooth Erosion:
Tooth erosion can lead to a number of dental problems. Once enamel is lost it will not replenish itself. Some of the dangers of tooth erosion include:
- Dental Pain: The wearing down of enamel exposes the nerves of the teeth, causing pain and increased dental sensitivity.
- Tooth Decay: As the enamel wears down, the tooth becomes vulnerable to bacteria and decay.
- Tooth Fractures: Tooth erosion can lead to dental fractures. Fractures are generally a result of tooth erosion caused by teeth grinding.
- Decreased Tooth Function: Tooth erosion can make eating painful and difficult, resulting in an overall decrease in tooth function.
- Tooth Loss: Untreated tooth erosion can ultimately lead to tooth loss.
Seek Treatment and Prevent Future Tooth Erosion
You can help prevent future tooth erosion by practicing proper oral hygiene (brush your teeth at least twice a day for a minimum of two minutes and floss at least once a day), reduce or eliminate sugary and acidic foods and drinks, and see your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings. If you have already experienced tooth erosion, there are many dental treatments available that may help improve the appearance and strength of your teeth. For patients in Madison, tooth-colored fillings are a wonderful treatment option. Schedule a consultation with our team for your personalized treatment plan.