Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body and made entirely from minerals. Still, it is susceptible to erosion, fracture, and weakening, so it is vital to keep it protected with proactive oral hygiene.
Without strong enamel, the inner part of your tooth risks decay, which leads to pain, infection, and even tooth loss.
Causes of Tooth Enamel Erosion
The most common causes of tooth erosion are preventable.
Drinks: Sugars and acids can easily wear down enamel over time. If you regularly consume soft drinks, fruit juices, and energy drinks, you may be harming your teeth. Alcohol can erode enamel, as well.
Food: A diet high in carbohydrates and sugar allows mouth bacteria to create damaging acid that harms tooth enamel.
Medical problems: Acid reflux conditions such as GERD, frequent vomiting, and certain genetic conditions can erode enamel. Teeth grinding from stress can also impact the integrity of your teeth. Once enamel is chipped or worn, it cannot repair itself.
How to Avoid Tooth Enamel Erosion
Our office regularly sees tooth problems that could have been avoided through good oral care. In addition to good at-home dental hygiene and professional exams and cleanings, here are extra steps you can take to protect your smile.
- Trade sweets and junk food for a diet rich in crisp veggies, fruit, cheese, yogurt, and whole grains.
- Plain water is a healthier refresher than sports beverages and energy drinks. If you do indulge, rinse with water afterward and wait about a half-hour before brushing to avoid further enamel wear.
- Saliva neutralizes acids in the mouth. By drinking water and chewing sugar-free gum after meals and beverages, you boost production of cleansing saliva.
- To avoid fracturing teeth, don’t chew on ice cubes, pens, or other hard substances.
- If you grind your teeth, request a night guard from our office.
- Wear a mouthguard if you play contact sports. It protects tooth enamel from cracks and chips, and helps prevent traumatic tooth loss.
Tooth enamel is essential for maintaining a healthy smile, so take care to protect it. If you suspect compromised enamel is causing you problems, call our office or ask your general dentist for a referral. Our oral surgery practice specializes in expert, specialized care for damaged teeth, jaws, and mouth tissue. Contact us for more information.