17 Apr How to Prevent Tooth Erosion
Erosion of teeth is described by dentists as Non Carious Tooth Surface Loss, which means teeth disappearing by another way than decay.
Another term is bio-corrosion – in other words teeth corroding away due to their surrounding environment. The teeth can become very sensitive and have an unsightly appearance. As they lose their shape the bite gets harder on the remaining tooth substance so they wear away even more.
The disappearance of the tooth material can be fast, especially with the combination of drinking acidic drinks, having acid reflux and clenching/ grinding the teeth. It can also be very slow and then it is hard to keep track of over the years which is one of the reasons why we take photos.
Causes of Erosion
Regurgitation from bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa causes erosion particularly on the inside surfaces of the teeth.
The main cause of erosion that we see daily is from the drinking of acidic drinks. Drinks that appear to be healthy are sadly a big part of the problem.
Ordinary tea such as English breakfast tea, earl grey, Darjeeling are not acidic and apart from causing stain, are recommended as drinks throughout the day.
Fruit teas are acidic and will cause damage especially if you sip them throughout the day.
We recommend that you drink herbal tea that is made from herbs! – such as camomile and peppermint.
Coffee with no sugar is not erosive and does not cause decay. Coffees with added syrup flavouring can cause erosion and decay.
Smoothies are concentrated forms of what has been blended into them. Fruit sugars and acids are more harmful in smoothie form. Vegetable smoothies can be ok, so long as there isn’t added citrus juice.
Fizzy Drinks including Diet Drinks
All fizzy drinks are acidic and cause erosion.
Squash and Diluting Juice
All squash including sugar free is acidic and causes erosion.
Wine , Spirits and Beer
These are erosive drinks – especially if sipped over a period. Have them with food!
Fruit is normally reasonably healthy for teeth. One apple or orange as part of a meal is good! Eating fruit throughout the day can cause erosion.
Ideally avoid the above erosive foods and drinks. Don’t brush your teeth within an hour of an erosive drink as the enamel on your teeth stays soft for this long- so it gets brushed away! Combine a drink with food- ideally mealtimes. Saliva has a buffering effect so chewing sugar free gum can help.
Bonding can be used to restore worn patches on the tooth surface. With front teeth, as they wear, they get thinner, so the tips are like knife edges and break away. Also, the space closes, this means there might not be any space left to put them back to their original shape. Restoring worn out front teeth can be a difficult and expensive procedure.
With back teeth, their appearance might not be so important but if they lose their entire enamel surface they can wear away even more quickly. Space also disappears and they become like flat grinding plates. Restoring has to involve creating space and protecting the tooth.We like to make Cerec “tops” – these are milled composite that are the shape of the original tooth top- which are bonded on. This involves opening up the bite. This is a great treatment-but………
Prevention is much better than cure!
Don’t dissolve your teeth!
If you would like to book an appointment for your dentist in Edinburgh, please call us on 0131 225 7576.