Tooth Erosion: Causes, Treatments, and How You Can Prevent It

Tooth Erosion Causes and Treatments - Pittsburgh

Posted on Oct 18, 2015 by Timothy Sluser, DMD

A woman's smileHere at Four Seasons Dental, we pride ourselves on providing patients with some of the finest dental care in the greater Pittsburgh area. This includes comprehensive general dentistry services, improving the health and wellness of the teeth and gums.

One dental health issues that many patients don't consider is tooth erosion. Let's take a moment right now to consider tooth erosion and how it can be treated and prevented.

What is tooth erosion?

Also known as dental erosion and acidic erosion, tooth erosion refers to the gradual degradation and weakening of the enamel of the tooth caused by an acidic oral pH. When this occurs, the enamel wear away and reveals the underlying dentin layer. Left untreated, this can lead to significant dental health problems.

How is tooth erosion different from regular tooth decay?

Tooth erosion and tooth decay sound synonymous, but they are actually two separate things entirely.

Tooth decay is caused by oral bacteria that feeds on food particles in the mouth and in the process breaks down tooth structure. Erosion is related to the oral pH. This is an important distinction to keep in mind.

Causes of Tooth Erosion

Some common causes of tooth erosion include having carbonated beverages such as soda and beer, soft drinks (the carbonation and sugar can wear down the enamel), excessive drinking, citrus juices, and gastric fluid.

With regard to gastric fluid, this means the stomach and digestive acid present when a person vomits. Tooth erosion can be a warning sign of alcoholism or bulimia. If you notice any signs of alcohol abuse or eating disorders in a loved one, be sure to help that loved one get the professional treatment they need.

What happens if my tooth erosion goes untreated?

If tooth erosion goes untreated, this can increase your risk of a damaged tooth from simply biting or chewing as you normally would. This can be quite painful, and a tooth severely damaged may need to be extracted.

In addition, tooth erosion boosts the risk of a root canal infection, which means the infection of the soft tissue within the tooth itself. This can mean the spread of infection to other parts of the mouth and significant health problems as a result.

Treatment Options for Tooth Erosion

To treat minor cases of tooth erosion, a dentist can consider various restorative dentistry options. This includes the use of fillings, inlays, onlays, or dental crowns. The ideal restoration will depend on the extent of the tooth damage. If an eroded tooth is infected

In serious cases of tooth erosion, extraction may be recommended, though these are serious cases in which a tooth cannot be saved.

Tips for Preventing Tooth Erosion

To prevent acidic oral pH, the best thing patients can do is to drink water regularly to help remove acidic substances from the teeth and to help neutralize the pH in your mouth. It's also a good idea to reduce your consumption of beverages and foods that may be acidic.

If you do consume any acidic foods or beverages, wait roughly an hour before brushing or flossing to avoid accidentally harming the softened enamel of your teeth.

Find Out More About Acidic Enamel Erosion

For more information about treating and preventing acidic tooth erosion, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The entire team here at Four Seasons Dental looks forward to your visit and helping you achieve great dental health.