Tooth erosion is an issue that doesn’t get talked about a lot in dental care, probably because it’s not incredibly common. Nevertheless, tooth erosion is an important issue when it comes to dental care. Tooth erosion refers to the occurrence of tooth decay for reasons not attributed to the typical tooth decay brought upon by plaque. There are several ways this can occur:
Common Sources of Dental Erosion
Drinking — When a person ingests food or drink with an acidic quality (i.e. a pH below 7) the substances in these drinks can cause damage to your teeth. Just as plaque creates acid through the fermentation of sugars in your mouth, these substances have acids in them that can wear out the enamel in your teeth. Common acidic drinks that many people include in their diets are carbonated beverages, sports drinks and fruit juices. One doesn’t necessarily need to stop drinking these beverages but be aware of the effect it has, and regulate it in your life.
Gastric Acids — Significantly less common, but still important, is the contact of gastric acids with your teeth. The acids in your stomach are meant to break down the foods in your body and thus have a low pH (high acidity). Therefore, when they come in contact with teeth they can have potentially damaging effects. For most people this is a rare occurrence, but sufferers of eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa can cause serious damage to their teeth over time.
Abrasion — Some people unintentionally cause erosion of their own teeth. Grinding is one means of wearing away your teeth, and another common source is a person brushing their teeth too hard. Both of these activities gradually wear away the enamel in your teeth — the substance that makes your teeth strong and protects the root of your tooth.
Though the most simple way to treat these sources is to avoid them altogether, or modify your lifestyle in certain ways such as drinking acidic drinks through a straw. There are ways to treat dental erosion the most common of which being fluoride treatment, which enhances the strength of the enamel in your teeth and restoring some of the damage that has been done to your teeth.