Cosmetic Dentistry » Acid Erosion
Your teeth are covered with a protective coat of enamel that resists the daily wear and tear of biting and chewing food, as well as insulating the teeth from high and low temperatures. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, but because it contains no living cells, once it gets damaged the body cannot repair it.
Over time, the acids contained in many foods and drinks can wear down or erode the natural enamel of our teeth. Certain medical conditions can also cause acid erosion. In some cases, excessive tooth brushing can further damage this weakened tooth enamel, particularly if you brush straight after meals.
Acid erosion can cause discolouration and staining of the teeth, increased sensitivity to high and low temperatures and cracks and chips that can lead to tooth wear and cavities. If you think you have any of the symptoms of acid erosion, you should seek professional advice from the practice.
What are the symptoms of acid erosion?
- Increased sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks, which may start mildly but gets progressively worse if left untreated
- Yellowing, staining and discolouration of the teeth
- Cracks and chips as weakened tooth edges become more jagged
- Indentations on the biting surfaces of the teeth
Treatment for acid erosion depends on the individual patient and it is crucial to identify the cause of the erosion. While tooth enamel cannot be repaired by the body, there are a number of conservative solutions to repair the damage and improve the look of your teeth, including adhesive bonding, or in some cases veneers or crowns, along with preventative steps to stop further erosion.
How to protect your tooth enamel against acid erosion
- Visit the dentist and hygienist regularly and follow their oral healthcare advice
- Cut down on acidic foods and drinks, and drink fruit juice through a straw
- Rinse your mouth with water after acidic food or drinks
- Chew sugar-free gum between meals to increase saliva
- Don't brush your teeth for an hour after eating
- Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day in the way your hygienist has shown you, but avoid excessive brushing
- Drink plenty of water