Acid erosion happens when the enamel is exposed to an acidic environment for long periods of time. It is caused by a loss of tooth enamel (or the protective layer) due to acid buildup.
Enamel is softened by acidic foods and drinks such as orange juice, fruits, soda, wine etc. To combat acid erosion it is necessary to neutralize the PH of your mouth. With the right instruction and care plan you can minimize the effects of acid erosion on your smile.
Acid erosion can be caused by many things. Frequent consumption of fruit drinks or soft drinks, gastrointestinal problems such as frequent vomiting, and acid reflux.
There are some medications that may cause the teeth to erode, xerostomia also known as ‘dry mouth’, which happens due to low salivary production, increases acid content in the mouth.
A high acid diet which consists of consuming foods that are high in sugar or starch. This exposes your teeth to more harmful agents that will cause the surfaces of the teeth to erode.
Acid Erosion can look like yellowing teeth, because the Dentin layer under the enamel (the outer coating) is slightly more yellow. When the enamel thins due to erosion, the yellow dentin becomes more visible.
Teeth can also have rounded looking edges; the enamel can be discolored or even translucent. Sensitivity can arise due to the enamel being thinner and the dentin being exposed, sensitivity to heat and cold especially, can become an issue.
Dental cracks can form which look like small cracks and roughness at the edges of the teeth. Additionally, cupping, which is the appearance of small dents on the chewing surface of the teeth and fillings.
Over time, dental erosion puts you at greater risk of developing cavities or other oral issues which can eventually lead to tooth decay and loss.
Effectively preventing acid erosion can be done with a mix of topical treatments and by forming new habits such as:
For severe tooth erosion, a dentist may recommend dental bonding, fillings, crowns, or veneers.
For tooth enamel, once it’s lost, it cannot be naturally replaced. Further erosion can be minimized by taking actionable steps and practicing teeth health habits.
Acid erosion can significantly impact the health of your teeth and the look of your smile and cause issues if not addressed.
It is important to Book an Appointment with your oral health specialist and with a basic understanding of dental erosion, and a few new habits, you can keep your enamel strong and your smile, healthy.
Emma Johnson is the owner of Pearl Boutique, a clinic that specializes in teeth whitening. She is a registered dental hygienist and completed her diploma at Camosun College, which offers one of the best recognized dental hygiene programs in Canada. Emma also holds a health science degree in kinesiology from the University of the Fraser Valley.