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What causes tooth erosion?

5 July 2021

Stop that sipping and snacking!

So, what exactly is tooth or teeth erosion?  It might sound like it’s just how your teeth wear over years of using them, a bit like a tyre tread but tooth erosion is a little more complicated than that.

The enamel that covers your teeth is the first line of defence your smile has against the various chemicals and bacteria it is exposed to due to the foods we eat and drink.

Tooth erosion causes symptoms like sensitivity and discolouration of your teeth.  Over time these symptoms can increase to:

  • Even greater sensitivity
  • Stained teeth
  • Rough edges on teeth
  • Increased tooth decay
  • Clear, slightly translucent teeth
  • Fractured teeth

The main causes of tooth erosion are usually the types of foods and drinks we are regularly consuming. Whilst our own saliva is there to help neutralise these sugars and acids, if you eat high quantities of sugar and acid-based foods, or don’t brush your teeth regularly, your teeth enamel will degrade over time and reveal the more yellow colour of your dentine.

Try to avoid snacking or sipping on these foods and drinks outside of mealtimes:

  • High sugar foods like syrups, caramels, chocolate etc
  • High starch foods like white bread and pasta
  • Acidic foods such as apples, citrus foods, berries and rhubarb
  • Fruit juices and juice based drinks
  • Carbonated water or carbonated pop drinks, both with sugar and sugar free

There is also non-food related causing of tooth erosion such as:

  • Chronic Acid Reflux
  • Regular use of certain medications, such as antihistamine and aspirin
  • Teeth grinding
  • Dry mouth syndrome
  • Certain eating disorders

Tooth enamel does not grow back so once it has gone, it’s gone forever. Therefore, to prevent tooth erosions is of course the best course of action.  There are however a range of cometic dentistry techniques that we provide that can help improve the appearance of your teeth and help prevent further damage to your smile.

To help prevent tooth erosions make sure to maintain a high standard of oral care at home, avoid the foods and drinks we’ve suggested and attend your dental and hygiene appointments as often as we suggest.

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