I’ve noticed over the last year more patients are attending complaining of chipped, glassy, see-through teeth that are sensitive to hot/cold food and drink. Does this sound familiar to you? If so, you may have signs of dental erosion.
Tooth erosion is the irreversible loss of tooth structure due to acid. It is the most common chronic disease of children aged 5-17 years. Acids initially soften the enamel (outer layer of the tooth) but may proceed to the underlying dentine.
The most common cause of erosion is by acidic food and drink. Notably fruit, fruit juice, carbonated drinks, fruit flavoured drinks, wine, balsamic vinegar and sports drinks.
The most important factor influencing tooth erosion is the frequency of “acid attacks” rather than the total intake of acidic food/drink.
Another cause of erosion can be from gastric acid from the stomach that comes in contact with the teeth. Patients with diseases such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia and gastroesophageal reflux disease often suffer from tooth erosion.
Everyone with natural teeth is likely to develop some signs of tooth wear but many patients are unlikely to be aware that it’s happening to them until it has reached an advanced stage.
Acid erosion can progress to cause:
Hot/cold food and drink
Yellow appearance as enamel becomes thinner and underlying
dentine shines through
- Rounded teeth
Biting surface of front teeth
- Small Dents/Cupping
Biting surface of back teeth
- Contact your dentist for a dental check-up to confirm dental erosion.
- Reduce or eliminate intake of acidic food/drink – use a straw if its necessary to consume acidic drinks.
- Leave brushing of teeth for a least 1 hour after consuming acidic food/drink.
- Ask your dentist for advice on using a suitable low abrasion, low acidity, high fluoride toothpaste and soft toothbrush. They may advise you to use additional fluoride products.
- Chew sugar free chewing gum after consuming acidic food/drink to encourage saliva production and protect the enamel.
- Consult your doctor if you have any underlying medical disorder.
Dr Sarah Cusack