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Attack of the Acids! Understanding Enamel Erosion, Pt. 2

In an earlier post, we discussed the causes and harmful effects of acid erosion on tooth enamel. Sensitivity, weakened teeth, and changes in appearance are all possibilities, so it is important to seek guidance from your dentist in a timely fashion. The consequences of erosion are not just limited to aesthetic problems; they also endanger your teeth and your gums.

Possible Signs of Tooth Erosion

Erosion caused by acid has long-term effects on dental health. For this reason you should be aware of signs that suggest the early stages of tooth erosion. The earlier you recognize and seek treatment for erosion, the less likely you are to need dental restorations. A few things to watch out for:

  • Discoloration: The dentin beneath tooth enamel is yellow in color. If the teeth appear yellow, this may because the enamel has eroded, exposing the dentin. The effect worsens as erosion continues.
  • Rounded teeth: An eroded tooth takes on a rounded appearance that some describe as “sandblasted.”
  • Cracks: The edges of the teeth develop slight cracks and a rough texture.
  • Transparency: The biting edge of the tooth looks translucent.
  • Temperature or sweetness sensitivity: You experience discomfort when you eat or drink something hot or cold, or when you eat or drink something sweet. Sensitivity increases as erosion worsens.
  • Surface dents: Tiny dents form in the surface of your tooth. If you have a filling, it may look as if it is rising above the tooth surface.

Preventing Tooth Erosion

A combination of steps may be needed to avoid erosion based on the cause for which you are at risk. For example, erosion might occur as the result of an acidic diet or as an effect of a medical condition. You can reduce damage in several ways:

  • Abstain from drinking soda, sports drinks, and energy drinks. Choose milk or water instead.
  • When drinking an acidic beverage, such as citrus juice, use a straw.
  • Do not allow an acidic food to remain in your mouth for a long time; swallow it quickly.
  • Limit consumption of acidic foods to meal times, eating them with other foods to minimize acid exposure.
  • Neutralize acid by rinsing your mouth with water, chewing sugar-free gum, or sucking on a sugar-free candy.
  • When you eat or drink something acidic, wait a half-hour before brushing your teeth.
  • Only use toothbrushes with soft bristles, and choose toothpaste that contains fluoride.

About Your Shrewsbury General Dentists

At Modern Dentistry, Todd A. Pizzi, DDS, and Luciana Messina, DDS, are dedicated to providing high-quality cosmetic, restorative, and preventive dentistry services to patients and families in Shrewsbury, Worcester, North and South Grafton, Westborough, Southborough, Northborough, Boylston, Hopkinton, Millbury, and all surrounding communities. To schedule your next appointment, contact our office by calling (508) 842-8838 today.