What causes eroding of tooth enamel?
Tooth enamel is a mineralized coating on the outside of teeth. As the outermost structure of a tooth, it serves as a protective barrier between the soft internal structures of teeth and oral bacteria. When it comes to general dentistry, oral healthcare providers will assess the health of tooth enamel to determine whether a person is at risk for cavities or susceptible to developing broken teeth. While tooth enamel is quite strong, it can become damaged. In fact, erosion of tooth enamel leads to dental caries and chipped or broken teeth. Enamel damage occurs from excessive wear and tear on teeth along with exposure to acid.
Wear and Tear
Over time, our teeth will become worn down as a result of normal oral function. If we compound normal wear and tear with destructive habits like chewing on inedible objects and bruxism, we can severely affect the vitality of tooth enamel. Chewing on items like pen caps and ice cubes along with bruxism (clenching and grinding our teeth) will wear cracks in tooth enamel over time. Small cracks in tooth enamel expose softer structures of our teeth to cavity-causing bacteria. This type of enamel damage also increases the risk for developing chipped or broken teeth.
Exposure to Acid
Acid strips the mineral composition of our teeth. Repeated exposure to acid can lead to permanent tooth damage. Many foods and beverages are acidic. From citrus fruit to preservatives and additives, common foods and drinks contain acidic ingredients that soften tooth enamel. Consuming these foods in moderation can help keep tooth enamel healthy.
Treating Weak and Diseased Teeth
Sometimes teeth with thin or weak tooth enamel can be treated with preventive dentistry. Non-invasive preventive services include the application of dental sealants, which provide an extra layer of protection from bacteria, and fluoride treatments, which replenish lost mineral content in tooth enamel can help reduce the risk for cavities. Other treatment options might include the placement of restorations like fillings and crowns to treat decay and more noticeable damage. When teeth are diseased or damaged beyond repair, an extraction is necessary to protect the health of neighboring oral tissue.
For more information, contact our team at Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center.