What is dental erosion?
Dental erosion is the loss of tooth enamel which is caused by acid attack. The enamel is the hard, protective coating on your tooth, which protects the sensitive dentine underneath. The enamel is worn away and dentine underneath is exposed, which may lead to pain and sensitivity.
What causes dental erosion?
When you eat or drink anything acidic, the enamel on your teeth become softer for a short while and lose some of its mineral content. However, your saliva will slowly cancel out this acidity in your mouth and get it back to a neutral balance. If the acid attack happens too often, your mouth may not have a chance to repair itself and tiny bits of enamel can be brushed away. Over time, you may start to lose the surface of your teeth.
What can I do to prevent dental erosion?
There are many things you can do:
- Try to limit the amount of acidic foods and drinks you have. This includes fruit juices, fizzy drinks and tea or water with lemon in. Try to consume these only at meal times to limit the damage to your teeth as this will reduce the number of acid attacks on your teeth.
- Finish a meal with cheese or milk as this will help cancel out the acid.
- Chew sugar-free gum after eating. This will help produce more saliva to help cancel out the acids which form in your mouth after eating.
- Wait for at least one hour after eating or drinking anything acidic before brushing your teeth. Also, after vomiting, do not brush your teeth for at least an hour – rinse your mouth with plain water only as the acid attack from stomach acid is very high. This gives your teeth time to build up their mineral content again.
- Brush your teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day, with fluoride toothpaste. Use a small-headed brush with medium to soft bristles.