Why Am I Losing Tooth Enamel?

Why Am I Losing Tooth Enamel?
Posted on 10/04/2019
 Why Am I Losing Tooth Enamel?

Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body, yet both the foods and drinks we consume can play havoc on your tooth enamel, which can lead to serious and painful dental issues. To protect your tooth enamel, learn more about what causes the erosion, what you can do to prevent it, and treatment options if you have a serious loss of your enamel.

What Causes Enamel Loss?

Acid is the main cause of the loss of tooth enamel. It eats away at the enamel over time, leaving the tooth without protection. Food and drinks are the most common causes of tooth enamel loss, but there are other issues that can contribute to high acid production, including:

  • Dry mouth
  • Acid reflux
  • GI tract issues
  • Taking acidic medicines such as aspirin or antihistamines
  • Low-salivary flow
  • Genetics
  • Bruxism, or grinding of the teeth

Foods and Drinks That Contribute to Tooth Enamel Loss

The following foods and drinks produce the most acid that leads to enamel erosion:

  • Soda – this is the number one culprit of enamel erosion because the sugar combines with the bacteria in your mouth, forming the acid that attacks your teeth, and diet soda is equally as bad.
  • Fruit juice – while not as bad as soda, juice is still high in sugar and causes acid production.
  • Flavored water – even if they don’t contain sugar, flavored water often contains citric acid and other additives that can produce acid.
  • Sugary snacks – snacks such as candy have a lot of sugar, especially sticky snacks that stick to your teeth. The sugar can come in many forms, including fructose, honey, glucose, and corn syrup.
  • Starchy snacks – foods that are high in carbohydrates, such as potato chips, can stay in your mouth for some time and produce acid.
  • Citrus fruits – while they are still part of a healthy diet, they are high in acid, and if they stay in the mouth too long, they will wear away at the enamel.

Side Effects of Enamel Loss

There are several side effects that you may experience as a result of lost tooth enamel:

Tooth Sensitivity

This is the number one side effect of enamel loss. You may feel tooth pain when you eat or drink foods that are hot or cold, when you brush your teeth, or when the gum line is exposed to air.

Yellow Teeth

The dentine in your teeth is yellow, so when the enamel wears away, your teeth will become discolored.

Tooth Fracturing and Rough Edges

The structure of your teeth grows weaker as the enamel wears away, leading to cracks, fractures, and uneven edges on the teeth.

Increase in Tooth Decay

Your teeth become more susceptible to cavities when the protective enamel gets worn down.

Teeth That Appear Transparent

As tooth enamel wears down, the thinner your teeth become, which will make them appear as if you can see through your teeth.

How to Repair Tooth Enamel

Damage to your teeth from loss of enamel is permanent. There is no way to restore it because enamel doesn’t have living cells that can repair itself. Although it can’t be replaced, your dentist can provide a few treatment options including:

Tooth bonding – in cases where the erosion is mild, bonding can be done to cosmetically repair your teeth. Your dentist will apply resin to your teeth, with a color that matches your teeth, that will be trimmed and polished for natural-looking teeth.

Tooth crowns – in more serious cases of weakened enamel, your dentist can cap your tooth with a crown that will protect your teeth from sensitivity and future decay.

How to Prevent the Loss of Tooth Enamel

Following are tips to prevent tooth enamel erosion by limiting the production of acid in your mouth:

  • Reduce or eliminate the number of drinks and foods you consume.
  • Don’t swish your drinks in your mouth because it exposes more teeth to acid.
  • Get treatment for medical conditions, such as acid reflux, where acid comes in contact with your teeth.
  • Rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash after eating. Don’t brush immediately after eating because it can actually spread the acid around in your mouth.
  • Chew a sugarless game with xylitol to clear way acid in your mouth after eating.
  • Increase your dairy consumption because calcium builds strong teeth, and dairy products produce a protective film on your teeth that protect the enamel from acid.
  • Use toothpaste and mouthwash with fluoride, which helps strengthen the enamel.

See Your Dentist Regularly

Regular cleanings and checkups with your dentist will help protect your tooth enamel, and your dentist will be able to look for signs of acid erosion early.

Call West Gate Dental Today!

If you are already experiencing signs of tooth erosion, contact West Gate Dental today to schedule an appointment or complete our online appointment form, and we’ll contact you. Our dentist and staff stand ready to help care for all of your dental needs.