Did The Dentist Say You Are Experiencing Enamel Erosion?
On the Moh’s hardness scale, human teeth are ranked at five. And if you want to get a picture of their hardness, remember that diamond ranks at ten. With that said, the teeth are one of the hardest parts of the human body. But the funny part is though tough, they don’t fare well against damage.
Tooth decay is a prevalent problem among adults – in fact, more common than asthma. So how does it start? Everything begins with enamel erosion. And when your dentist says that you’re experiencing it, time to schedule those weekly visits at the dental clinic.
What Protects The Teeth From Damage?
The teeth have three layers – enamel being the topmost part. Now, you don’t have to learn the rest. All that you need to learn is its enamel that acts as the vanguard for the other two layers. In simple terms, it’s what protects the teeth from damage.
A problem with enamel is that it’s just a thin protective outer layer. Another thing is that it might degrade due to poor eating habits and poor dental habits. Degradation is a condition that dentists call enamel erosion or demineralization. Enamel erosion is problematic because it’s an early symptom of tooth decay.
Continous enamel erosion will cause the enamel on the teeth to be absent, leaving the dentin (middle layer) and the pulp ( final layer) to bacterial infestation. As soon as this happens, decay starts to kick in.
Since you have a fair idea about enamel erosion, let’s talk about what triggers it.
Enamel Erosion – How Does It Start?
You were taught – way back in elementary and high school – that saliva helps with digestion. However, this is just one of its primary functions. It also helps neutralize acids in the mouth.
Enamel starts to abrade once the mouth becomes too acidic (erosion starts at 5.5 pH). And this is the primary reason, why saliva is very important for dental health.
Nevertheless, the neutralizing property of saliva isn’t very dependable. Saliva can’t keep the mouth’s acid levels at a minimum once carbonated drinks, sugary foods, sour fruits, and starchy foods are consumed. Some examples are:
- white bread
- apples, citruses, rhubarb, green mangoes,
- lemon juice and orange juice
To continue the discussion, enamel erosion happens when your mouth’s ph becomes significantly higher than normal. Of course, to prevent this from happening, you can choose to minimize your consumption of the abovementioned foods or brush your teeth frequently.
And since we already mentioned brushing your teeth, remember not to use flavored toothpaste as these don’t help at all.
Can Medical Conditions Affect Enamel Erosion Too?
An increase in the mouth’s acid levels triggers enamel erosion and medical conditions that result in such a condition as also a culprit. A prime example is Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux. The frequent backwash of stomach acids toward the esophagus that may result in vomiting can trigger enamel erosion.
What Are The Treatments?
Early signs of enamel erosion are teeth sensitivity (tingly feeling on the teeth or pain after drinking something cold), indentations on the teeth (cupping), and smoothing of the teeth. Later symptoms will lead to yellowing of the teeth and staining.
When it’s just starting, dentists usually treat enamel erosion by prescribing patients with fluoride-rich toothpaste and instructing them to undergo dietary changes.
Installation of veneers and crowns on the teeth is the most effective method once enamel erosion discolored the teeth.
At present, there’s no known method for recoating the teeth with enamel. That’s why no treatment compares to being watchful of what you eat or drink and brushing your teeth frequently.
There you have it! Contact Paul Mansky Dental today! We are located in Troy, Michigan and can be reached at (248) 689-5508 and we hope to hear from you soon!