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It is important to protect your tooth enamel from its natural enemy, acid.  An acid attack will erode enamel, which is the hard, protective coating surrounding your teeth. The enamel helps to protect the sensitive dentin beneath the surface, which will cause you pain and sensitivity if it becomes exposed.


How do I know if my teeth have dental erosion?

Your teeth will probably be more sensitive to hot and cold food if you have dental erosion, which will be your first sign to discuss the possibility with your dentist. Your teeth may become a yellower or darker color which indicates that the dentin underneath has been exposed.


What causes dental erosion?

Every time you eat or drink anything that is acidic, your teeth enamel will become softer and lose some of its mineral content.  Your saliva helps wash away the acidity in your mouth and bring it back to its natural balance. If your enamel is exposed to the acid too often, the saliva will be less effective in restoring your enamel to its natural balance. Acidic food or drinks with a pH value lower than 5.5, may wear away tooth enamel.

Some medical conditions will expose you to higher levels of acid.  If you have gastro esophageal reflux disease or suffer from hiatal hernia, acid may come up through the stomach to the mouth which will result in erosion of your tooth enamel.


What should I do to prevent dental erosion?

  • Only eat acidic foods or drinks during mealtimes to reduce your exposure to them.
  • Do not swish your drink around in your mouth, but instead consume it quickly. Using a straw helps keep the drink toward the back of your mouth and limits exposure to tooth enamel.
  • Chew sugar-free gum to help stimulate saliva.
  • Give your teeth at least an hour after eating to allow the saliva to do its work of restoring its natural balance and mineral content before brushing teeth.
  • Brush your teeth before you go to bed at night and another time during the day. Use toothpaste that contains fluoride levels of 1350ppm (parts per million) to 1500ppm for adults, and 1000ppm for children up to three years old.


If my teeth have dental erosion, how will the dentist treat it?

The best treatment is to be proactive and use good oral hygiene and have regular visits to your dentist. If your dentist discovers that your tooth enamel has worn away, he or she may bond a filling into your tooth to repair it or in more severe cases fit your tooth with a veneer.

If you have any concerns about dental erosion, do not hesitate to ask Dr. Melchers or his staff.  We are here to address any of your dental health issues and decide the best course of treatment for our patients.  Contact us today at info@oldmtpleasantdentistry.com  to see how we can best meet your dental care needs.