Enamel protects teeth from the daily stress of biting and chewing. It also insulates teeth against extreme temperatures, preventing them from being sensitive to hot and cold. Tooth enamel is strong and durable, but can chip or crack.
Once damaged, enamel cannot repair itself and the damage is permanent.
Acids Destroy Tooth Enamel
Altough strong, tooth enamel is susceptible to erosion by acids. Foods and drinks which contain high amounts of acids damage enamel over time. Some of the worst culprits for acid erosion are:
• Soft drinks and sports drinks which are high in phosphoric acid. Even diet drinks contain acid.
• Fruit juices (some fruit acids can be stronger than battery acid)
• A diet high in sugars and carbohydrates
• Acid reflux disease
• Dry mouth
• Environmental factors
Environments Causes of Enamel Erosion
Habits and environmental stressors can damage tooth enamel. Grinding and clenching your teeth (bruxism) can place large amounts of stress on your tooth surfaces, causing the enamel to crack, chip or erode.
Bruxism can cause erosion of the enamel at the gum line, weakening your tooth structure and causing sensitivity.
Abrasion of tooth enamel occurs with aggressive brushing or improper flossing, or biting on hard objects such as biting fingernails.
Enamel can also be damaged from abfraction, or fracturing of the tooth due to cracking of enamel.
Corrosion of enamel occurs chemically with strong acids such as aspirin, vitamin c or frequent contact with stomach acid.
Protect Your Tooth Enamel
Avoiding enamel erosion is the best way to prevent these types of dental problems.
Avoid acidic foods and drinks. If you grind or clench your teeth, your dentist can help you modify your behavior or even reduce the stress of bruxism with a mouth guard.
Treat medical conditions such as acid reflux disease and other gastrointestinal problems. Avoid habits and behaviors that ca damage tooth enamel.
Treating Damaged Enamel
If you have damaged enamel, see your dentist. Your dentist can prescribe the appropriate dental treatment to repair the damage of enamel erosion.
In some cases, bonding of the teeth will help protect the eroded areas from decay and further damage. In more severe cases of enamel damage, a dental crown may be advised to repair and protect your tooth.
Contact your Saratoga dental office for more information .