is a very complex and multifactorial condition.
Also known as acid erosion
, dental drosion is an irreversible loss of tooth structure due to chemical dissolution by acids. Erosion is found initially in the enamel and, if unchecked, may proceed to the underlying dentin.
Signs of erosion may include:
- shortening, chipping teeth
- increased sensitivity to heat, cold or sweet
- flattening of molar teeth with “scooped out” lesions in the enamel
- thinning out of the incisal edges of the front teeth
- wedge shaped lesions at the necks of the teeth/gum line
If left untreated the damage may proceed into the nerves of the teeth and often results in the need for major and expensive dental treatments such as Root Canal Therapy and Crowns, and ultimately may lead to tooth loss.
The single reason for tooth structure loss in Dental Erosion is increased acidity in the mouth. To that there may be a number of contributing factors.
The most common are:
- consumption of acidic foods or drinks (sports drinks and fruit juices are amongst the worst culprits)
- regular regurgitation of stomach content, such as in pregnancy or in cases of Bulimia
- dry mouth, such as due to salivary gland damage, dehydration or certain medications
- incorrect oral hygiene practices
- certain medications
Often it is impossible to pinpoint, or single out one of these factors as the precise cause of dental erosion in a particular patient.
The management of Dental erosion must include preventative strategies first and foremost to minimise further tooth structure loss.
Some restorative treatment may be required to rehabilitate the damaged tooth structure. It is important that you discuss management of acid erosion with your dentist. We will be happy to provide you with an individualised treatment plan.
Management of Acid Erosion
These are some very simple to follow rules that may assist you in managing dental erosion:
- use high concentration fluoride products to help remineralise tooth enamel (your dentist can recommend some suitable products)
- rinse with water or fluoride mouth rinse after meals
- do NOT brush your teeth straight after eating, just rinse your mouth and wait a couple of hours before your hygiene routine
- be mindful of highly acidic foods such as citrus fruits or juices, vinegary salad dressings, white wine, chewable vitamin C tablets… rinse with fluoride mouth rinse after consuming these foods
- use soft tooth brushes
- avoid whitening tooth pastes as they may be very abrasive
- eating cheese after a meal will help lower acidity in the mouth
- if you think you might have dry mouth ask your dentist about a variety of products that will assist you such as artificial saliva
- make sure you drink plenty of water to keep hydrated
Dr. Maria Avis