Tooth enamel may be the strongest substance in your body, but it is still vulnerable to erosion and decay. Over time, enamel erosion can lead to tooth sensitivity and cavities.
If you want to avoid these unfortunate and uncomfortable consequences of tooth enamel erosion, there are a few tips you want to know about.
Causes of tooth decay
There are a number of causes of tooth decay:
- Excessive sugar in your diet
- Too many acidic foods in your diet
- Acid reflux disease (GERD)
- Frequent vomiting due to alcoholism or eating disorders
- Carbonated drinks, fruit juices and alcohol
- Chronic dry mouth
- Harsh brushing or teeth grinding
Many of these causes can be controlled, reducing your risk for tooth decay. However, some causes will be harder to control. It is important to recognize the signs of tooth decay early so you can take steps to stop it and prevent future damage.
Signs of enamel erosion
There are signs that your tooth enamel is slowly eroding, making your teeth more vulnerable to cavities and decay.
These signs might include:
- Rough edges or cracks on the teeth
- Sensitivity to hot, cold or other sensations
- Smooth or shiny areas on the teeth, due to mineral loss
- Discoloration of the teeth
- Small dents or rounded areas on the teeth
Preventing enamel erosion
Because correction of enamel erosion can involve costly dental procedures, it is much better to prevent the problem before it begins. Preventative measures begin with reducing your consumption of substances that promote erosion, such as carbonated beverages and acidic foods. If you do drink beverages that could lead to enamel erosion, use a straw to pull the liquid past your teeth into the back of your mouth.
Rinse your mouth after meals, particularly after eating foods with a high acidic content. Finishing an acidic meal with a helping of cheese or milk may also help to neutralize the acid. Chewing sugar-free gum can help stimulate saliva production, which restores important mineralization to the teeth after meals.
Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day, with one of those times occurring right before bed. Wait approximately one hour before brushing after an acidic meal to give your teeth a chance to restore their mineral levels once again. Select a small-headed toothbrush with medium bristles to reap the greatest benefits from your brushing sessions.
Cosmetic dentistry solutions
If enamel erosion has already occurred, there are treatments that can restore the health and beauty of your teeth. Dental bonding and porcelain veneers are both effective ways to hide the damage caused by enamel erosion.
Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliot at Long Island Implant & Cosmetic Dentistry are experienced in assessing risk factors for enamel erosion and can give you a full evaluation at your initial consultation. If erosion is detected, they can outline a treatment plant to restore oral health and a beautiful smile.
To schedule a free consultation with our Suffolk County cosmetic dentists, please call 631-319-9509.