Enamel is the thin outer layer of the tooth. It helps protect the main portion of the tooth, called the dentin, from daily stressors such as chewing and grinding. It also acts as insulation against hot and cold temperatures. Although tooth enamel is the hardest tissue in the human body, it’s quite susceptible to erosion.
Enamel erosion occurs when acids wear away the outer layer of the tooth structure. Physical forces can also compromise the integrity of tooth enamel. Enamel erosion tends to be caused by the following:
- Excessive consumption of soft drinks containing citric and phosphoric acids
- Consumption of fruit drinks
- Dry mouth
- Diet high in sugar or starch
- Acid reflux
- Certain medications such as Aspirin
- Attrition (tooth-to-tooth friction)
- Abrasion (wear caused by brushing too hard or chewing on hard objects)
Signs of Enamel Erosion
Signs of enamel erosion vary depending on the degree of damage. Sensitivity to temperature and sweet foods can occur in the early stages, causing mild discomfort.
As the enamel continues to erode, you may notice yellow discoloration, cracks and chips along the edges of the teeth, and indentations on the surface of teeth. In the later stages, sensitivity to sweets and temperature can become incredibly painful.
Enamel Erosion Prevention and Treatment
You can help prevent enamel loss through regular brushing and flossing. It’s also important to visit our office for regular checkups and cleanings. During these appointments, Dr. Michael Chung may suggest adjustments to your diet and oral care routine.
Enamel erosion treatment depends on the nature of the problem. You can’t bring back lost enamel, but professional dental services may help improve the look and function of affected teeth.
Schedule An Appointment With Our Oakton Dentist
Don’t let enamel erosion get in the way of a beautiful, healthy smile. Call 703-319-6990 today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Chung. Softouch Dental Care proudly welcomes patients from Oakton, Vienna, McLean, and nearby areas of Northern Virginia.