Watching Out for the Causes and Symptoms
What is the purpose of tooth enamel?
The enamel is the outermost layer of the tooth, which acts as the protective covering of your teeth. Though translucent and thin, it is the hardest tissue in the entire body. It provides protection from daily chewing, biting, and grinding; it insulates the teeth from temperature extremes and onslaught of chemicals. Be that as it may, the enamel can still chip, break, or crack from certain forces. It can erode via a gradual wearing away that can expose the inner layer.
Teeth erosion happens in excessive or repeated exposure of the teeth to acid. For example, frequent consumption of pure fruit juices and carbonated drinks increases the risk for tooth erosion. Another lifestyle habit, such as binge drinking, can also cause the same. This is even though your saliva, which naturally contains calcium, can help neutralize the acid in sparse or moderate consumption of these intakes. A diet high in sugar and starches, such as sour foods, cakes and candies, can also erode the enamel gradually.
There are also other causes of tooth erosion apart from diet choice. Acid reflux disease, where stomach content goes up the esophagus, bulimia, where vomiting is frequent, or dry mouth syndrome, where saliva production is low or insufficient, are conditions that make teeth prone to enamel erosion. Teeth grinding or bruxism that causes tooth-to-tooth friction, as well as hard brushing and biting on hard objects, like ice, fruit, nails, among others, are other culprits.
What are the symptoms of tooth erosion?
Pain is common as the teeth become overly sensitive to hot or cold food or drink or other stimuli. Another is discoloration where teeth become increasingly yellow, exposing the dentin underneath the enamel. Teeth may appear transparent, smooth or shiny around the edges indicative of enamel loss. When erosion sets in, your teeth may have cracks and dents in those areas that involve chewing food.
When enamel erodes, the tooth is more susceptible to cavities or tooth decay. The outer layer is weakened and can become brittle. If left unattended, the whole tooth may be compromised.
Looking Out For Tooth Erosion in Bellevue
If you are experiencing the symptoms just described above, you may be experiencing tooth erosion. Come see us for a consultation here at Overlake Dental, your friendly Bellevue dentists.