Enamel Erosion and Keeping Teeth Healthy
Erosion of the enamel can be caused by a variety of behaviors. The three primary causes are aggressive brushing, clenching and grinding and eating highly acidic foods. Erosion weakens the tooth enamel and can cause severe sensitivity to hot and cold, along with unsightly discoloration, generally in the front teeth.
Small composite or tooth-colored fillings can be used to correct any damage done to the teeth by erosion. In severe cases, more extensive restorations such as crowns or veneers may be necessary to return teeth to a healthy state.
The best protection from erosion is prevention. Here are some suggestions for preventing erosion from occurring.
• Brush at a 45-degree angle toward the gum line, using only a soft bristled toothbrush and light pressure. If the bristles on the toothbrush are fanned out at the edges, one may be using too much pressure. This is especially important if using an electric toothbrush, such as the Sonicare. Ask a dental hygienist for a demonstration to be sure brushing is being done properly.
• Wear a night guard. Patients can benefit from the use of a protective dental appliance while sleeping. Dr. Steven Swidler, at Medicine Wheel Dental & Wellness Center, in Tucson, has developed a proprietary night appliance that not only protects teeth from erosion, but also aides in TMJ disorder prevention, using the most comfortable materials possible—named “The Swid Guard”.
• Rinse with water after eating acidic foods. Citrus fruits are the greatest cause for erosion. After eating lemons, limes and oranges or using them in beverages, it is important to rinse the mouth to remove the citric acid and return the mouth to a neutral pH balance.
Those who are concerned they may already be developing erosion—or have noticed increased sensitivity to hot or cold beverages and food—should contact their dentist.
Medicine Wheel Dental & Wellness Center is located at 4650 W. Jojoba Dr. Connect with them at 520-743-7101 or MedicineWheelWellness.com. See ad, back cover.