Your tooth enamel is pretty important. In fact, it’s crucial to your oral health, and if you lose it, it’s gone forever. As the hardest tissue in your body, tooth enamel protects your teeth from physical and chemical damage.
Yes, your enamel is incredibly strong, but it’s not invincible. It can erode and wear down over time, which can create major problems for your mouth. In fact, enamel erosion can cause:
- Rough edges
- Shiny spots
- Teeth sensitivity
- Tooth decay
- Yellow stains
So, why does tooth enamel erosion happen? And what, if anything, can be done to treat it?
What Causes Enamel Erosion?
One of the main things that causes the protective enamel on your teeth to wear away is exposure to sugary and acidic food and beverages.Carbonated drinks can be rough on your enamel, so if you need flavor, opt for naturally-flavored water instead. Cut back on the amount of sugar you eat to help protect your teeth. Sugar not only impacts enamel, but can cause painful cavities, too. Instead, choose more fresh vegetables, fruits, and unprocessed foods.
Teeth grinding is another common cause of tooth enamel loss, and it can result in pain and discomfort that disrupts your day-to-day life. Purchasing and wearing a mouthguard at night can help with this issue. Not sure if you’re grinding your teeth while you sleep? Talk to your dentist — he or she will be able to see if your teeth show signs of grinding. Your dentist can also recommend the best type of mouthguard and where to buy it.
Lastly, not practicing good oral hygiene (like not brushing and flossing often enough) can result in gradual enamel erosion over time. At minimum, you should brush and floss your teeth twice per day. The best case scenario is to brush and floss after every meal.
How to Treat Teeth Enamel Erosion
Once your teeth lose enamel, you can’t get it back. That’s because enamel isn’t made of living cells that can regenerate and grow. There is something you can do, though — you can stop the erosion from getting worse. The best way to treat enamel erosion is to prevent it from happening in the first place.
But if your teeth have already experienced severe enamel erosion, there are a few treatments your dentist can provide to protect your teeth and fix any problems that occurred as a result of the erosion. For example, if the erosion has caused discoloration of your teeth, your dentist can use bonding to apply a tooth-colored resin to the surface of your teeth. This treatment is often done when enamel erosion occurs on the front teeth and results in embarrassing stains and discoloration.
Another option is to prevent further tooth decay with the application of a veneer or crown. This will help protect the damaged portion of the tooth, but this method is usually only used in severe cases of tooth enamel loss.
Are you unsure if you’re experiencing tooth enamel erosion? Learn the most common signs and symptoms or ask your dentist at your next appointment.