Dental erosion is the loss of dental structure, enamel and dentin, as a result of the effect that acids cause on the teeth. We can consider dental erosion a disease of modern society as it is some habits of our diet, or in more severe cases psychological disorders in food (bulimia), the cause that trigger it. Its frequency is increasing, in the UK 40% of 14-year-olds have some signs of erosion in the enamel.
The acids demineralize the enamel, weaken it and it ends up crumbling, then the dentin (innermost layer of the tooth) will undergo the same process. As a result, the teeth wear out in thickness and height and end up chipping and breaking. The patient will notice sensitivity with anything cold and that the teeth are getting thinner on the edge and their color is more transparent or more yellowish depending on the area.a.
WHAT CAUSES DENTAL EROSION?
Any food (especially beverages) that have an acid pH, erodes the enamel: fruit juices, cola soft drinks, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, strawberries, pineapple, grapes, kiwi, balsamic vinegar, etc. have an acid pH. It is not a question of avoiding them, it would be enough not to abuse their consumption and use some measures that prevent erosion. Chlorine from swimming pools can also cause tooth erosion in swimmers.
Other causes of acid aggression on teeth may come from gastric acid in the case of gastro-esophageal reflux or in bulimia cases from vomiting. Both pictures are important for their high frequency: the first in adults and the second in adolescents.
In some pregnancies both situations can occur, reflux and vomiting. Even though it is for a limited period of time, it is advisable to prevent it from happening. The dentist can often detect the initial signs of this process and find a solution before tooth destruction occurs. Today we have minimally invasive treatments to control erosion, preserving dental parts with a conservative approach.
Some tips to prevent dental erosion:
- Saliva is the natural defense that we have, to neutralize the acids in the diet. After taking an acidic food it would be good to eat something with an alkaline pH that will stimulate the production of saliva (cheese, for example) and neutralize ph. Chewing gum is also a good saliva stimulant.
- After ingesting an acidic food, we should not brush our teeth immediately but wait for an hour. If we did brush our teeth, we could add to erosion (chemical wear) an abrasion (mechanical wear) caused by brushing on an enamel that is demineralized. The brush should be made of soft bristles.
- The use of fluoride in collusion, before and after brushing is recommended.
- Do not abuse cola or acidic soft drinks, if we drink them, better to do so with a straw.
- In case of gastric reflux or bulimia, apart from dental treatment it is recommended to consult a specialist to treat the cause of the problem.