What is Dental Erosion?

Wondering why your teeth are sensitive? Noticing yellow or discolored areas in your enamel? You may be experiencing symptoms of dental erosion.

Dental erosion is the chemical deterioration process of the hard enamel and minerals that form the outer layer of your teeth. Erosion happens slowly over time and is usually caused by eating or drinking too many acidic foods or beverages, or by acids coming up from your stomach.

Here’s what you need to know about the causes, symptoms, and treatments for dental erosion.

What Causes Dental Erosion?

Dental erosion is typically caused by one of two factors: diet or digestive issues.

Dietary Causes of Dental Erosion

Your diet plays a huge part in the health of your teeth. Many people don’t realize that their diet is contributing to dental erosion because they avoid sugary beverages and foods. But erosion may be caused by zero-sugar sodas and fresh fruit too. Typically, erosion is caused by consuming too many highly acidic foods.

These may include:

  • Soft drinks.
  • Energy drinks.
  • Lemon or citrus-flavored beverages.
  • Acidic fruits like citrus.
  • Kombucha.
  • Vinegar.
  • Alcohol.

Digestive Causes of Dental Erosion

The acid in your stomach is just as potent as the acids found in most foods. If you suffer from frequent acid reflux, the stomach acid entering your esophagus might make its way up to your mouth and start to damage your teeth. Similarly, if you suffer from frequent vomiting or morning sickness, your stomach acid will start to wear away at enamel and contribute to dental erosion. The underlying causes of digestive dental erosion should be diagnosed and treated by a professional.

What are the Symptoms of Dental Erosion?

The symptoms of dental erosion are often similar to symptoms indicative of other dental issues. Symptoms include sensitivity to temperature in the teeth and gums where the enamel has worn away, or visually altered areas of the mouth. Areas without enamel may appear yellow in comparison to healthy teeth. If left untreated, dental erosion may lead to increased tooth decay, oral surgeries, or even tooth loss.

Treatment for Dental Erosion

Unfortunately, dental erosion is an irreversible condition since the fundamental structure of your teeth has been altered. Treatments often address symptoms caused by erosion rather than repairing the tooth itself.

Treatments may include:

  • Root canals to treat teeth with extensive damage.

  • Dental veneers or crowns to hide damage and discoloration.

  • Fillings to address teeth that have become worn or decayed.

  • Oral surgery to remove intensely damaged teeth.

While there’s no “cure” for dental erosion, there are certainly techniques you can use to improve symptoms.

  • Swish water with baking soda in your mouth to help neutralize acidic foods so your teeth feel more comfortable.

  • Drink dairy products to help strengthen your teeth overall.

  • Use sensitivity-specific toothpaste formulated with fluoride and a soft-bristled brush.

How do I Prevent Dental Erosion?

The good news? Dental erosion is easy to prevent if you follow a few guidelines and practice healthy habits for your teeth. 

Dental erosion can be prevented by:

  • Avoiding sodas, energy drinks, and soft drinks of all kinds.

  • Gently brushing your teeth or at least swishing with water after an acidic meal.

  • Avoiding chewable vitamin C tablets. Use capsule-based vitamin C supplements instead of chewable options.

  • Seeking medical treatment for frequent vomiting or acid reflux.

  • Practicing thorough at-home care using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride-based toothpaste.

  • Regularly visiting your local dentist’s office for cleanings and exams.

Taking Care of Your Smile at Treasured Smiles Adult and Cosmetic Dentistry

At Treasured Smiles Adult and Cosmetic Dentistry, we prioritize comfort and well-being above all else. Our team of professional dentists and hygienists provide the greater Chicago area with high-quality care that prioritizes communication and professional results. With our state-of-the-art offices, friendly staff, and the latest in dental technology, Treasured Smiles Adult and Cosmetic Dentistry has a leg up over the competition.

We offer a variety of treatment options including:

  • Restorative treatments (crowns, fillings, bridges, implants, root canals etc.)
  • Cosmetic treatments (tooth whitening, partial dentures, Invisalign)
  • Routine treatments (cleanings, x-rays).

Hoping to improve your smile? Contact the team at Treasured Smiles Adult and Cosmetic Dentistry and book your first appointment.