Tooth erosion is the loss of tooth enamel, the hard substance that covers and protects our teeth, caused by acid. Even if your teeth look healthy, acids in everyday food and drink can wear away the enamel, causing erosion and exposing the softer, more sensitive underlying part of the tooth called dentine. Tooth erosion has common signs and symptoms that can be found during your routine dental examination. This articles explain what is tooth erosion and the common signs of tooth erosion.
If your teeth are discoloured or yellow, you may be experiencing tooth erosion. The white enamel that protects your teeth wears away, exposing the naturally yellow dentine underneath.
Pain or sensitivity in the teeth can indicate tooth erosion. The enamel is worn away, causing the weaker dentine underneath to be exposed to the temperature of everyday food and drink. The dentine is more prone to decay and may be why you are experiencing pain or sensitivity after eating hot or very cold foods.
The edges of your teeth are the most exposed to acid erosion. Therefore, you may notice that sharper edges of teeth like canines and incisors appear rounded, as they have more direct contact with food.
Translucent or see-through teeth
As the enamel becomes worn away, your teeth may become thinner and the edges can appear translucent. This is a result of the combination of the thinning enamel and the yellow dentine coming through underneath.
Cracked or decayed teeth
More advanced tooth erosion can lead to cracked or decayed teeth, generally around the edges. You may be able to feel the cracks when you run your tongue around your teeth. This can cause more serious problems to your dental health, as bacteria in the mouth can penetrate the tooth, leading to further decay.
How to prevent tooth erosion
There are certain methods you can take to help prevent tooth erosion, such as:
- Limiting the frequency of fizzy, alcoholic and caffeinated drinks you have per day
- Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste
- Brushing your teeth last thing at night and using a toothbrush with soft bristles
- Using a fluoride-containing mouthwash at a different time of the day to brushing
- Drinking quickly without swishing the liquid in your mouth.
- Using a straw to prevent liquid from having direct contact with your teeth.
- Chewing sugar-free gum after eating.
- Waiting for at least one hour after eating or drinking before brushing your teeth to allow time for the minerals in your teeth to rebuild.
If you are worried about tooth erosion or are experiencing the above signs and symptoms, be sure to make an appointment with your dentist.