Your teeth are constantly fighting against bacteria, acid, sugar, and temperatures on a daily basis. Your protective enamel is the hard outer layer of the tooth that protects the softer, more sensitive areas of the tooth. Without your enamel, the dentin that is beneath it would not be protected from harm. Even though the enamel is the strongest part of your whole body, it isn’t indestructible. Enamel loss can become a serious issue over time. Continue reading to learn more from your emergency dentist in Park Slope about why it occurs and what you can do about it.
What Is the Cause of Enamel Erosion?
The most common cause of enamel erosion is the acid that is found in a variety of different foods and drinks. Saliva helps by neutralizing the harmful acid in your mouth, but if you are having them too often, your enamel won’t stand a chance. The outer layer of your teeth will eventually wear away over time. Here are some other causes of enamel erosion:
- Teeth grinding (bruxism)
- Chronic acid reflux
- Low salivary flow
- Using certain medications regularly, like antihistamines and aspirin
- Eating disorders, like bulimia
Why Is Enamel Erosion So Harmful?
If you experience enamel erosion, you are likely to experience a variety of different oral health issues. This is because the sensitive layers of your teeth are more easily exposed to destructive substances. Here are some of the symptoms that you may encounter:
- Increased sensitivity
- Cracks and chips
- Indentations or “cups” on the surface of your teeth
- Increased tooth decay
- Rough edges on the teeth
Ultimately, you could end up with oral pain, tooth loss, infection, or even gum disease!
How Can You Prevent Enamel Wear?
Unfortunately, enamel cannot grow back once it is gone. However, weakened enamel can be saved in a process called remineralization. During the process, the minerals in the enamel are replaced in order to become stronger. The easiest way to do this is by using fluoridated products and consuming more foods that are high in calcium. Fluoride acts as a barrier for your teeth, and calcium is needed in order to build and maintain strong bones and teeth.
To prevent enamel wear from occurring, remember to always brush twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste and floss daily. Using a fluoridated mouthwash can help as well. See your dentist every six months for regular cleanings and checkups. This way, issues can be treated before becoming serious.
As strong as your enamel is, it is not indestructible. By preventing enamel wear in the first place, you can avoid all sorts of different oral health issues. Ultimately, you can save your smile!
About the Author
Dr. Frank J. Sapienza is an experienced dentist who has been working in the field for more than 30 years. He earned his DDS from the New York University College of Dentistry and continues to pursue training and education in all aspects of dentistry. Currently, he is a member of the American Dental Association, Dental Society of the State of New York, and Second District Dental Society. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit his website or call (718) 965-6298.