Did you know that your teeth, so well designed for long-term use by nature, possess a layer of protection that keeps them strong and healthy? It’s true, your teeth are protected by a layer of enamel; the hardest compound in the human body. Tooth enamel covers the crown of your teeth, the part of your teeth that sit above your gums.
Important information from your Littleton Prosthodontist.
Why is tooth enamel important?
The exceedingly hard outer surface of your teeth is designed to resist wear, chipping, and cracking, keeping your teeth healthy and effective when chewing food. Tooth enamel also protects your teeth from extreme temperature changes, going from hot to cold.
However, the enamel on your teeth is not indestructible and, if it does become damaged, your body can not repair the damage by itself. Unlike your bones, which can repair themselves when broken, tooth enamel has no living cells, so self-repair is impossible. This means, if the enamel on your teeth has become damaged, you must seek help from an expert.
What is the cause of tooth enamel erosion?
When the enamel on your teeth begins to wear away, we call this either “enamel erosion” or “dental erosion.” This type of damage is caused by acids working to wear away the enamel on your teeth. The loss of the enamel on your teeth makes them vulnerable to other types of damage, including temperature sensitivity, chipping, cracking, tooth decay, and discoloration.
Dental erosion may be caused by one or more of the following:
- Over-consumption of soft drinks, which contain phosphoric acid and citric acid
- Over-consumption of fruit drinks. Some fruit drinks contain acids that are more erosive than battery acid.
- Xerostomia, or “dry mouth,” caused by a decrees in the flow of saliva
- Acid reflux disease (GERD)
- Hereditary conditions (genetics)
Dental erosion can also be accelerated by factors such as tooth grinding or eating a diet composed of primarily coarse foods. For more detailed information on dental erosion, visit webmd.com.
Dental erosion may be one of the most under-recognized dental diseases in the country. In the US, where many of our favorite foods and beverages have a moderate to high acid content, it is something that needs to be discussed, so that patients seek treatment before significant reconstruction occurs.
The doctors at the The Colorado Center for Implants and Prosthetic Dentistry, Dr. James Maroney, DDS, MS, PC is a specialist in the prevention and treatment of dental erosion. If you would like more information from your Littleton Prosthodontist, please call to make an appointment today.