July 6, 2022

Did you know that tooth enamel erosion and wear damage the overall structure of your smile? Moreover, it increases your risk for tooth decay and cavities, dental chips and cracks, and infection in or around the decaying tooth. If you have questions about enamel erosion, an expert in general dentistry in Hialeah can give you the answers you’re looking for.  

a man experiencing enamel erosion and needing to see an expert in General Dentistry in Hialeah

Answers to the Top Questions Asked About Enamel Erosion

What Is Enamel Erosion?

Enamel erosion refers to the loss of tooth enamel due to acid attacks. The tooth enamel is a hard, protective layer that covers the tooth to protect the sensitive tissue called the dentin underneath. As the enamel wears away and the dentin is exposed, your tooth may become more sensitive to heat, cold, and pressure. For this reason, you may experience sharp and sudden pain when you’re drinking a hot cup of coffee or enjoying some ice cream.

What Are the Common Causes of Enamel Erosion?

Eating Sugary Foods and Beverages

Regular consumption of foods and beverages with high sugar content will cause the bacteria in your mouth to feed on the sugar and form a sticky film called plaque on your teeth and gums. Moreover, plaque’s acid content eats away at your tooth enamel. Unless you watch what you eat and limit the time sugary foods and drinks remain in contact with your teeth, bacteria, and acid will weaken your enamel until they reach the dentin.

Chronic Dry Mouth  

Besides helping you break down food to aid in the digestive process, your saliva neutralizes plaque, which is oral bacteria’s acidic byproduct. When you ingest acidic food and beverages, saliva acts as a buffer by lowering the pH. However, certain health conditions, medications, medical treatments, nerve damage, dehydration, and smoking can reduce salivary flow, leading to dry mouth. Since chronic dry mouth, or xerostomia, exposes teeth to higher levels of acidity, this condition will cause considerable damage to the tooth enamel.

Chronic Acid Reflux or GERD  

Acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive condition in which the bile or stomach acid flows into the food pipe and irritates its lining. Patients diagnosed with GERD experience heartburn and acid reflux more than twice a week. Some of its symptoms include a burning painful sensation in the chest occurring after meals. The pain worsens when the patients lie down.  

As scar tissue builds up in the esophageal lining, the food pipe becomes narrow, making it difficult for patients to swallow food and drinks. For this reason, patients with GERD experience frequent dehydration and impaired esophago-salivary reflex, which leads to reduced salivary flow. Since hyposalivation keeps the mouth dry, these patients are vulnerable to enamel wear and the weakening of teeth.

Genetic Factors  

Research shows that around 60% of tooth decay involves genetic factors. For instance, some patients have naturally thinner tooth enamel. As a result, their chances of experiencing enamel erosion and the adverse effects of enamel wear are higher than those who have thicker enamel.

Bruxism  

Bruxism refers to clenching or grinding your teeth during sleep or as an involuntary reaction to stress, anxiety, fear, or anger. Unfortunately, bruxism places pressure on your teeth’s biting surfaces until the habit leads to enamel wear and tear, chipping, and cracking. Once this unconscious habit erodes your tooth enamel, your teeth are at a higher risk for decay and damage.

Misaligned Bite

A bite that isn’t correctly aligned may cause your teeth to wear against each other unevenly. Without orthodontic treatment, the malocclusion will cause deep pits to form on the surfaces of your teeth, joint dysfunction, and enamel wear.  

Poor Oral Hygiene

Dental health experts strongly recommend brushing teeth at least twice daily, flossing each day, and scheduling preventive dentistry appointments every six months. Otherwise, plaque that builds up around the teeth turns into a hard, calcified deposit called tartar that weakens the enamel.  

Poor Nutrition

Maintaining a balanced diet helps you keep your teeth strong. Conversely, a poor diet increases your likelihood of having tooth decay due to enamel wear and diminished overall health. Although poor nutrition is commonly associated with a person’s failure to eat the correct blend of nutrient-rich foods, it’s also linked to eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia.  

Aging Process

Gradual thinning of the tooth enamel naturally results from mechanical changes after decades of chewing, biting, and possibly grinding.  

an expert in General Dentistry in Hialeah checking a patient's teeth and gums

What Are the Signs of Enamel Erosion?

Dental Sensitivity  

You’re losing enamel when you notice that your teeth hurt whenever you eat hot or cold foods. Besides sensitivity to extreme temperatures, another sign of enamel erosion includes a short jolt of pain when you eat sweet foods.  

Increased Tooth Decay and Fracturing

Weak teeth have weak enamel with a reduced ability to withstand biting and chewing without getting nicked. Since their protective covering is worn down, teeth become more vulnerable to chips, cracks, decay, and cavities.

Indentations on Teeth

Tooth cupping is a rare form of erosion that occurs when plaque and bacteria weaken the enamel. When you have this condition, you’ll notice tiny indentations or cups on the surfaces of your teeth.  

Rough Edges on Teeth

Rough edges where the teeth were once smooth is also a sign of worn-down enamel. Over time, this will make teeth more susceptible to chips and cracks.  

Yellowish Teeth  

As the enamel wears away, the hard, dense, and yellow bony tissue called the dentin becomes exposed, giving your smile a yellowish color.

How Can I Prevent Enamel Erosion?

  • Limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks such as candies and sodas to reduce the acid attacks on teeth.
  • Drink sweet or acidic beverages through a straw to prevent the liquid from coming in contact with your teeth.
  • Cancel out the acid by finishing meals with dairy products such as milk or cheese.
  • Wait for at least an hour after eating or drinking foods and beverages with high acid content.
  • Stimulate your salivary glands to produce more saliva by chewing sugar-free gum.
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.  
  • Use a small-headed and soft-bristled toothbrush to remove plaque on teeth.
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Looking for an Expert in General Dentistry in Hialeah?

The team of skilled and experienced professionals at Best Dentistry Miami offers high-quality dentistry and uses state-of-the-art dental techniques to address your needs. If you’re ready to improve your smile, contact us today to request an appointment.

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