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Tooth Erosion: Causes and Treatments Acidic Damage to Your Teeth

drednarcisi Oct 31, 2014

A middle-aged man smiling outdoorsPatients in the greater Pittsburgh have put their trust in Dr. Edward Narcisi because his work achieves excellent results. Whether he performs advanced cosmetic dentistry treatments that enhance smile aesthetics or state-of-the-art restorative dentistry focused on improving dental health, Dr. Narcisi is completely dedicated to patient wellness.

The issue of tooth erosion has come up a fair amount in the practice and among colleagues. Let's take a few moments to go over the basics of this particular dental health issue.

What is acidic tooth erosion?

Acidic erosion is probably the best way to label the process of tooth erosion/dental erosion. The word "acid" really gets to the root of the problem.

Tooth erosion refers to the damage of the tooth enamel caused by an acidic pH within the mouth. This acidity slowly eats away at the topmost layer of the tooth, revealing the dentin layer underneath. This leads to a noticeable wearing down of the tooth structure

Signs and Symptoms of Tooth Erosion

Some common signs and symptoms of tooth erosion include:

  • A yellow appearance of the teeth
  • Worn down teeth
  • Acute tooth sensitivity
  • Weakened teeth

Be sure to consult with your dentist as soon as you notice these symptoms occurring.

How is tooth erosion different from regular old tooth decay?

Many people assume that tooth erosion and tooth decay are the same thing, though that is not the case.

Tooth decay is caused by oral bacteria that feeds on foo particles within the mouth. Doing this results in the production of a substance known as plaque, which eats away at a person's tooth structure. This is a different process than dental erosion as it has nothing to do with oral pH per se.

Common Causes of Tooth Erosion

Foods and beverages that are acidic in nature tend to be the most common causes of tooth erosion. This includes:

  • Carbonate beverages
  • Citrus juices
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Sugary foods
  • Processed meats
  • Artificial sweeteners

In addition to the above, many times the gastric fluid that results from vomiting leads to the erosion of the teeth. This could be the sign of an eating disorder or alcoholism, and indeed, acidic tooth erosion is a warning sign of both of these problems. Be sure to note these issues in loved ones just in case.

Treatments for Acidic Erosion

In many cases, the treatment of acidic tooth erosion will involve the use of dental restorations to rebuild the compromised tooth structure. This includes the use of inlays, onlays, and dental crowns. The extent of the damage to the tooth structure can be extensive, in which case the extraction of the tooth may be a better solution. If a patient does require tooth extraction, the use of a bridge or the placement of dental implants may be discussed as needed during the consultation process.

Tips for Preventing Acidic Erosion

In order to prevent acid erosion of the teeth, the following tips are recommended:

  • Drink water to stay hydrated and to make your oral pH more alkaline
  • Be wary of consuming any acidic foods and beverages
  • Brush your teeth after every meal to remove acidic substances from the mouth
  • Floss after every meal to remove acidic food particles from the mouth
  • Drink carbonated and alcoholic beverages in moderation

Learn More About Advanced Dental Care Treatment

If you would like to learn more about tooth erosion and other serious topics in dental health and wellness, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. Dr. Narcisi and the entire team here looks forward to your visit and helping you smile with renewed health and confidence.

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