Erosion is one of the more common types of dental wear that can affect and deteriorate the mineralized layers of the teeth. This form of destruction is aided by acid, which may either be present in the food or beverages that we ingest, or the acid reaches the oral cavity in cases of reflux disorders. Most commonly erosive wear occurs due to excessive consumption of food and beverages that have a high acid content. This acid erodes the first, most mineralized layer of the teeth – the enamel.
What are the signs and symptoms of erosive wear?
A common symptom of erosive dental wear is generalized sensitivity. When patients take a sip of hot tea, or help themselves to a spoonful of ice cream for instance, they may experience a sharp sensation in their teeth which can make eating/drinking hot and cold things a source of discomfort. Other signs may include yellowing of teeth which can indicate thinning of the enamel layer and gradual exposure of the second, more organic layer of the teeth known as dentin. Patients may also notice that they develop cavities at a faster rate than before – which also indicates erosive wear because the destruction of dental enamel leaves the teeth vulnerable to decay.
What are some of the common foods and drinks that can cause erosive wear?
Citrus fruits like lemon, limes, oranges, and grapefruits are some of the more frequently eaten foods associated with erosion of teeth. Erosion can be minimized when acidic food or beverages are consumed with other items that are “buffering” against the acid like cheese or nuts. The increased popularity of carbonated soft/sports drinks has resulted in a dramatic occurrence of erosive wear and decay. The carbonation of these drinks makes them highly acidic and harmful to the otherwise balanced environment of the oral cavity. Frequent intake of these drinks, even if they are sugar-free, can adversely affect the enamel thus leading to erosion over time. An excellent tip we suggest to our patients to minimize tooth exposure to acidic beverages is using a straw when drinking some of the more acidic beverages, even coffee!
How are acid reflux and tooth erosion related?
If you suffer from acid reflux disorders, there are chances that your teeth already show signs of erosive wear. The acid naturally present in our stomach is strong, and otherwise meant to aid food digestion in the gut. Due to reflux, this acid often gets regurgitated into the oral cavity and frequent exposure to it can cause destruction of the mineralized portion of the teeth. In such cases, it is important to consult your primary care doctor for the treatment of the disorder so the root cause of the erosion can be treated.
If you wish to learn more about the types of dental wear and how they can be treated, reserve an appointment with the team at Mosaic Dental today!