What in your body is harder than bone? Tooth enamel. Tooth enamel is 96% mineral, it’s practically a rock. For comparison, bone is only about 70% mineral. That’s why the body has limited mechanisms to heal our teeth. It’s not impossible, but it’s a slow mechanism, much slower than the destructive forces we encounter every day.
When our teeth are destroyed faster than they can heal, they become eroded. Usually the term “erosion” refers to the chemical destruction of our teeth by acids. As this process removes our enamel, there is no way to get it back. Our teeth are left weakened, and, without their coating of white enamel, unattractive.
What can you do about eroding teeth? Plenty, if you and your dentist work together.
Signs of Eroding Teeth
How do you know if your teeth are being eroded? Keep a careful watch for the symptoms. The sooner we can detect the erosion, the more of your tooth enamel we can save. Common symptoms of enamel erosion include:
- Sensitive teeth
- Discolored teeth
- Rough teeth
- Chipping and cracking teeth
When your teeth are sensitive to heat, cold, sweets, and acids, it’s a sign that something is wrong with your teeth. It may be receding gums, cracks, cavities, or tooth erosion that is exposing the sensitive parts of your teeth.
Discoloration may be caused by stains accumulating on your tooth enamel. This can be related to erosion of your teeth. Erosion roughens your teeth, but before you can feel that roughness, the uneven texture of enamel traps stain molecules. At first, your teeth might respond to whitening, but as the erosion worsens, whitening won’t work anymore.
Your teeth should be smooth, but acidic attack makes them rough. It’s normal for teeth to feel rough or “fuzzy” after eating, but if the feeling persists after you brush, it’s a problem.
When acid attacks teeth, it removes the minerals that make your teeth strong. As a result, your teeth can get weaker, which makes them more likely to chip or crack.
When you notice any of these symptoms, it’s time to see your dentist.
Battling Tooth Erosion
If you want to slow or stop tooth erosion, you need to control the acid in your mouth. You can do this by reducing the amount of acid in your mouth or by increasing the amount of neutralizing power in your mouth.
Acid in the mouth comes from three sources. Acids can be introduced in food and beverages like sodas or wine. It can also be generated in the mouth, usually by oral bacteria. Or it can come from the stomach. You can reduce these acids by:
- Not consuming as many acidic foods and beverages
- Reducing your intake of sweets and carbs that feed oral bacteria
- Get diagnosed or treated for GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
- Talk to a doctor if you have an eating disorder like bulimia
By reducing the amount of acid introduced to your mouth, you can reduce the speed of erosion.
You can also reduce the speed of erosion by increasing the amount of protective saliva and other substances in your mouth. To do this, you should:
- Stay hydrated
- Avoid exercises that dry out your mouth too often
- Eat foods that have healthy vitamins and minerals your teeth need
- Get treatment for snoring or sleep apnea
Most of this is fairly self-explanatory, but many people don’t realize that snoring and sleep apnea can dramatically impact your oral health. At night, saliva production naturally declines. Sleep disordered breathing encourages mouth breathing, which dries out the mouth even more, making it vulnerable to erosion.
We Can Repair Damaged Teeth
If you detect the signs of tooth erosion, you should not only make changes to combat your tooth erosion, you should schedule an appointment with a dentist. If you’re looking for a skilled dentist in Columbus who’s experienced in treating tooth erosion, consider Dr. Mike Firouzian at Firouzian Dentistry.
If your erosion is minor, we might recommend keeping with your new reduced erosion routine. We might even prescribe something to help slow the destruction and speed the healing of tooth enamel.
However, if your tooth enamel is badly damaged, we might not have the option to preserve it. We might have to repair your teeth using cosmetic dentistry restorations. If your teeth have suffered cosmetic damage but are still sound, veneers might be a good choice. They can beautify any smile. However, if your teeth are badly weakened, dental crowns might be a better choice. These not only protect your teeth, they can strengthen them.
For highly advanced cases of erosion, we may recommend a full mouth reconstruction.
Are You Looking for a Dentist in Columbus?
If you think your teeth have been damaged by erosion, it’s time to talk to a dentist and get an expert evaluation. If you are in Columbus and suspect that your teeth might be eroding, let us help.