Tooth erosion is a major problem in dentistry. Dental cavities occur when a specific spot on your tooth is being attacked by acid. Tooth erosion occurs when all your teeth are being attacked by acid at the same time. If this isn’t detected and stopped in time, it may require full mouth reconstruction of all your teeth at once. So what could be causing the erosion of your teeth?
There are a few relatively common causes of tooth erosion that are responsible for most of the worst cases.
An Acidic Mouth
Sometimes, your mouth can be an acidic environment. Normally, your saliva keeps the mouth neutral or alkaline, but sometimes the mouth can turn acidic.
Usually, this is because you’re not producing enough saliva or it’s evaporating too quickly. In a low-saliva environment, even a small amount of acid from food, drink, or oral bacteria can turn the entire mouth acidic. Some people have naturally low saliva levels. Others experience dry mouth as a side effect of medications. Dry mouth can also be caused by dehydration. It’s a common effect of people who train hard for endurance sports like marathons and triathlons. Long time spent exercising, combined with the consumption of sugary energy foods leads to a mouth that can stay very acidic for much of the day.
Stomach acid can be very damaging to the teeth. Often, people get their teeth exposed to acid because of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which causes acids to bubble up into the mouth. These can attack your teeth, creating acidic damage to the backs of teeth, especially the rear molars. Since these molars also take the brunt of chewing force, GERD can put you at increased risk of cracked teeth.
Vomiting can also expose your teeth to damaging stomach acid. People who vomit frequently because of illness, chemotherapy, or other causes can be at very high risk for damaging tooth erosion.
Purging from bulimia nervosa and other eating disorders can lead to tooth erosion. In fact, tooth erosion is one of the most recognizable signs of eating disorders.
Acidic Foods and Beverages
Many foods and drinks that we consume are acidic enough to erode our tooth enamel. Anything with a pH of 5 or less will lead to some level of erosion on your teeth. All commercial sodas are culprits of tooth erosion. If you drink them regularly, they will wear your teeth down. Fruit juices are also bad for your teeth. Cranberry juice can be as acidic as straight lemon juice, so it shouldn’t be drunk on its own regularly. Wine, especially white wine, is also very acidic and damaging to your teeth.
When it comes to food, the biggest dangers are those made with vinegar, like pickles, or those fruits that are highly acidic, such as oranges, plums, and, yes cranberries.
Are Your Teeth Eroded?
If you’ve experienced bad erosion of your teeth from any of these causes, we can help. First, we’ll identify the cause of your erosion and try to stop it from damaging your teeth further. Then we will decided if porcelain veneers or dental crowns will work better to restore your teeth. Dental crowns often work better for erosion because they cover your teeth completely. The ceramic material of the crowns and veneers are resistant to erosive damage.