This could be hard news for some people to digest but some of your most favorite things are the prime reason dentists are faced with patients with dental erosion. But before we get to the bad news, let us look at exactly what your dentist defines as dental erosion.
Demineralisation is what we dentists call dental erosion. Just like soil gets eroded by the flow of water and wind above it, your teeth too get eroded with the flow of certain substances that rob the mouth area of its protective saliva and literally ‘leech’ the minerals that make up your teeth (mainly calcium, yes).
Think about the structure of your tooth. It is made up of tooth enamel, which is rooted into the jawbone. Under the hard layer of tooth enamel is the softer part of the tooth which is made up of dentine. The trouble with dentine is when your erosion levels reach it, it makes the area extremely sensitive and the overall rate of tooth decay is accelerated. Now it takes a lot to wear out tooth enamel in the first place, as it is actually harder than bone. Yet dental erosion is a fairly common ailment and one which is definitely preventable with some basic oral hygiene and care.
Yet dentists are regularly confronted with teeth that have even been worn down to the gum line. While this is the other extreme of dental erosion cases we have faced, the level of damage is variable and requires curing according to the level of damage incurred already.
Time to look at the criminals we have in our line up responsible for the exacerbation of dental erosion. The earliest cause that makes dental erosion a reality for young children are flavored soft drinks such as the cola variety. These colas and soft drinks have extremely high levels of sugar in them and the reason we single out the colas is because they offer a mix of caffeine along with the harmful sugar. Caffeine inhibits the flow of saliva, which leaves the tooth surface area exposed to direct contact with the erosive drink. Working our way up the age levels, in teens and above, the next biggest offenders are fizzy and energy drinks. Back to the same infernal triumvirate of sugar, caffeine and acid with the help of accomplices such as sports drinks that are used to re-hydrate after hard physical activity.
Oh yes, wine is the cause of dental erosion among our middle-aged patients. Dentists can tell the main factors of erosion as they leave a recognisable impact on your teeth. For example, your dentist can tell you if it is soft drinks that are causing your teeth to erode or gastric reflux, which is the rising of the acids in your stomach to your mouth area. It’s a fact that eating disorders can be linked with tooth damage.
The path to repairing the damages of dental erosion includes white fillings to reshape and bring the tooth back to its functional original shape. In case of excessive damage, crowns are resorted to. You can also use ‘remineralising’ creams available but make sure your dentist recommends the correct one for you. In any case, continuous monitoring of the rate or erosion and the progress of the healing is absolutely necessary.