Did you know that enamel is the hardest substance in your body? In fact, it is actually harder than steel but can break much more easily. It is a translucent shell on the outside of your teeth that helps protect teeth from daily wear and tear, but it can still be prone to chips and cracks. Unfortunately, enamel has no living cells and cannot be replaced after it is damaged, which is why it’s important to protect teeth from enamel erosion.
What Causes Enamel Erosion
The enamel on your teeth can erode due to a variety of factors, such as:
- Eating a diet high in sugar or starches
- Acid reflux, binge drinking, and bulimia — These expose the mouth to stomach acid, which can also harm the soft tissue of the gums.
- Frequently sipping drinks with high levels of citric acids like fruit juices, sodas, and energy drinks
- Medications that cause dry mouth — Dry mouth is a condition where the mouth has little saliva. Saliva’s job in the mouth is to break up bacteria, and without it, the enamel is prone to erosion through exposure to plaque
If you notice these signs, your teeth may be suffering from enamel erosion:
- The first sign is that teeth will start to turn yellow and shiny
- Noticeable small dents or “potholes” form in the teeth, which is called cupping
- Cracks and chips develop along the edges of the teeth
- Severe, painful sensitivity to temperature and sugar occurs in the final stages of erosion
The best way to prevent enamel erosion is through proper dental care:
- Brush and floss your teeth daily
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dry mouth
- Avoid highly acidic foods and drinks in your diet
- Make sure you visit the dentist every six months for a cleaning and exam
- Chew sugar-free gum between meals to encourage saliva production
For more information or questions on how to protect your enamel and dental health, please feel free to contact our Canton, MS office to schedule a consultation.