What you need to know about tooth erosion, and how to prevent it

Tooth erosion is one of those dental issues that can sneak up on you. It’s the gradual loss of the hard, protective enamel that coats your teeth, and it’s not just about how it looks—it’s about keeping your teeth healthy and strong. 

At Smith and Van Lierop Dentistry, we are passionate about helping you understand this silent threat to your dental health, from what causes it to how you can prevent and treat it. 

What exactly is tooth erosion? 

Imagine your tooth enamel as the helmet for your teeth. When acid wears that protective layer away, the softer inner parts of your tooth become exposed and vulnerable. This isn’t just about cavities, which are caused by bacteria. Erosion can happen because of the acids in your favourite snacks and drinks or even stomach acids if you suffer from conditions like acid reflux. 

Why does tooth erosion happen?

So, what’s behind tooth erosion? It’s a mix of everyday habits and bodily factors that can collectively impact your dental health. What you eat and drink plays a significant role—regular sips of fizzy cooldrinks, citrus juices, or that nightly glass of wine can really add up. 

Then there’s acid reflux, which isn’t just uncomfortable; it can also bring stomach acids up into your mouth, wearing away at your teeth. A dry mouth reduces saliva, which is crucial in fighting off acids and cleaning away food particles. Additionally, how you brush your teeth also contributes to erosion; scrubbing hard with a hard-bristled toothbrush can do more damage than good. 

How do I spot tooth erosion?

Catching tooth erosion early can save you a lot of trouble down the line. Keep an eye out for: 

  • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks signals that your enamel is wearing thin.
  • Discolouration, because as the enamel wears away, it can reveal the yellower dentin underneath.
  • Smooth, rounded edges on your teeth, which can indicate that erosion is doing its damage. 

How can I keep my smile safe from tooth erosion?

Here’s how you can fight back against tooth erosion:

  • Try to cut down on acidic foods and drinks and rinse with water after you’ve had them.
  • Use a straw—it’s a simple tool that keeps acids away from your teeth when you’re enjoying a drink.
  • Chew sugar-free gum to boost saliva production, which protects your teeth.
  • Opt for a soft-bristled toothbrush and take it easy with the brushing. 

If you’re already noticing signs of erosion, don’t worry—we’ve got treatments that can help, from fluoride treatments that strengthen enamel to bonding or even veneers that protect and restore your teeth.

Remember, regular check-ups are your best defence against tooth erosion. Catching it early means more straightforward treatments and healthier teeth in the long run. 

At Smith and Van Lierop Dentistry, we’re here not just to treat your teeth but to make sure you know how to keep them healthy and sparkling. So, let’s keep that smile bright together!