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Causes of Tooth Erosion

By Stephen Dowell, DDS on November 20, 2017


An illustration of the anatomy of a toothYou know that brushing and flossing can help prevent dental conditions such as cavities and gum disease. But did you know that the foods you eat, regular wear and tear on the teeth, and bad dental habits can cause a condition known as tooth erosion? Tooth erosion is a serious condition in which the outer, protective layer of enamel breaks down. This can increase tooth sensitivity and put you at a higher risk of developing other dental problems.

At Dowell Dental Group, Dr. Stephen C. Dowell, Dr. Byron Rossi, and Dr. Somonkul Tum educate patients about the causes of tooth erosion. We also offer dental procedures to improve your oral health at our Minerva, OH practice. To learn more about the causes of tooth erosion, read on, and then contact our practice to schedule an appointment with us.

Acidic Foods and Drinks

Regularly consuming acidic foods and drinks can accelerate tooth erosion. For example, sodas contain phosphoric and citric acids, which can damage tooth enamel over time. Fruit drinks also contain citric acids, which wear away the tooth enamel when left on the teeth for long periods of time. Other acidic foods and drinks include fruit, alcohol, coffee, tomato-based products, and many condiments.

While it is often unreasonable to expect patients to avoid these foods and drinks altogether, there are steps patients can take to limit their damage. After consuming acidic foods and drinks, rinse the mouth out with water to neutralize their effects. Avoid brushing the teeth immediately after consumption, and instead wait about 30 minutes before brushing the teeth.

Biting and Chewing

While acidic foods and drinks have a corrosive effect on tooth enamel, the act of biting and chewing can gradually wear down tooth enamel as well. This is why tooth erosion is more common in senior patients. After a lifetime of use, the enamel on the teeth will break down in some areas.

Teeth Grinding

While biting and chewing are impossible to avoid, other actions, such as teeth grinding, should be prevented. Teeth grinding can accelerate enamel wear through the act of attrition. Frequent tooth-to-tooth friction will damage tooth enamel. If you chronically grind your teeth, a condition known as bruxism that commonly occurs at night while you sleep, you need to wear a mouth guard to prevent early tooth erosion.

Bad Dental Habits

Certain bad dental habits can cause tooth abrasion, leading to early damage of your tooth enamel. Poor dental habits such as brushing the teeth too hard, improper flossing, biting on inedible objects such as your fingernails, and using your teeth as tools can contribute to tooth erosion.

Other Causes of Tooth Erosion

There are other causes of tooth erosion, including:

  • Acid reflux disease
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Certain medications

If you have tooth erosion, our dentists can recommend treatment to protect the teeth from further damage. Some treatments for tooth erosion include porcelain veneers, dental bonding, dental fillings, and dental crowns. To find out which treatment is best suited to your unique case, contact Dowell Dental Group today.

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