Dental Erosion is the loss of teeth enamel due to intrinsic or extrinsic irreversible conditions. This is the hard, protective covering that protects the sensitive dentin underneath. Under certain conditions, the enamel is eroded exposing the dentin which leads to pain and sensitivity to hot or cold.
Hollow tooth and chipped off tooth edges are some of the visible damages that are the result of dental erosion. The consumption of acidic food and drinks contribute to extrinsic dental erosion. What actually happens is that the acids in the food and drinks soften the enamel making it prone to getting damaged. Although, our saliva contains minerals and nutrients that neutralize the acidic influence balancing the natural toughness of the enamel. However, if the acid attack happens too often then the saliva happens to have less time to repair the damage and the enamel starts to wear away with time.
Our stomach contains acids that are strong enough to dissolve the food we eat. Sometimes these acids are forced to pass through the food pipe to our mouth as a result of gastric reflux. It is not a point of concern if happened occasionally, but in case it happens frequently then the acids that break down the food starts to break down our enamel. People suffering from GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, Binge-Purge Syndrome are more prone to dental erosion.
Acid erosion often coexists with abrasion and attrition. Abrasion is most often caused by brushing teeth too hard. Any frothing or swishing acidic drinks around the mouth before swallowing increases the risk of widespread acid erosion. Sucking citrus fruits can also contribute to acid erosion. Another important behaviour that contributes to dental erosion is Bruxism or excessive teeth grinding which is an oral parafunctional habit. There are two main types of bruxism: nocturnal or sleep bruxism and awake bruxism.
Anything that crosses the pH value of 5.5 is highly acidic and can damage your teeth. Constant consumption of fizzy drinks or fruit juices especially the citrus fruits like lemon and oranges can even harm your teeth. So limiting on such beverages can help by reducing the number of acid attacks on your teeth. Try using a straw so that the drink makes less contact with the teeth. Have milk or cheese after a meal to cancel out the acid or have just plain drinking water. Every time drink water after eating or drinking any sugary or fizzy foods and drinks. This will wash away the sugary substance on your teeth contributing to the growth of bacteria.
Chewing sugarless gum can also help because the physical act of chewing helps boost saliva production. Brushing with a fluoride toothpaste can help regain the lost minerals of the teeth. Flossing between the teeth will ensure that the leftover food particles are washed out leaving no room for the plaque to settle. The most important thing to remember is that if you are suffering from any disease, for example, diabetes then you must consult your dentist frequently.
Identifying the symptoms early could be the deciding factor before everything goes out of hands. In case of certain conditions educating and counselling is recommended. If the patient has symptoms then preventive and management strategies should be followed.