Currently many people maintain unhealthy lifestyles believing that this will somehow benefit their daily lives as they fill themselves with empty calories, empty entertainment, and recreational activities that are only temporary. And this is having an increasingly visible effect on the population.
Taking care of ourselves and our dental health should be something fundamental and that we should be taught from a very young age, since dealing with diseases and conditions is quite tiring and something that requires constant investment of money, but even so we are constantly seeing dental problems that can be avoided, such as dental erosion.
What is dental erosion?
Dental erosion is when there is a progressive loss of tooth enamel, which can cause different types of diseases. But before we talk about erosion, we first need to talk about wear and its different types.
The difference in each of them is mainly based on the causes that have developed each condition.
Let’s briefly explain to you, before focusing solely on erosion, what are the kinds of wear we encounter.
This develops from the occlusal force of our jaw and chewing joints.
This wear develops through constant grinding or contact between teeth. It usually develops due to bruxism.
This can develop thanks to improper brushing technique, for example, excessive pressure that can create enough damage to affect the tooth.
This is the basis of today’s article, and is when damage to the tooth enamel develops thanks to strong acids present in the bacterial plaque in the mouth.
Dentists distinguish between two types of dental erosion:
When we talk about intrinsic erosion we base our understanding on finding the development of intrinsic erosion through our own organism.
This type of erosion is quite common in patients who have stomach problems and maintain a constant sensation of acidity or gastric juices rising to the mouth, in the form of regurgitation.
It is also normal in people who have some kind of mental disorder related to food and its poor acquisition, such as bulimia or anorexia.
When we are faced with extrinsic erosion we will notice that it develops thanks to the intake of different types of medications or foods that have this effect on the tooth.
It is common in people who take daily chewable Vitamin C supplements or those who have a large amount of hydrochloric acid that increases tooth wear.
We also see a key factor in tooth decay as having a poorly nutritious diet that is based on overly processed foods with high sugar content and empty calorie beverages, as well as a lot of pastries. All these foods stick to the teeth, do not provide the body with the vitamins and minerals necessary for protection against external factors and make the oral cavity a very acidic environment for the teeth themselves.
It is important to note that a person has the ability to suffer from dental erosion for both reasons, i.e., he/she can suffer from dental erosion due to both extrinsic and intrinsic causes at the same time.
Dental erosion is mostly based on an individual’s lifestyle, so it is essential to lead a healthy one in order to avoid any kind of problems.
What foods favor dental erosion?
We can generalize about the foods that cause dental erosion. All foods with a high acid content are being a key factor in the dental erosion of the population. And we can also find:
- Carbonated beverages, soft drinks, wine.
- Highly acidic fruits, such as citrus fruits and their juices: orange, lemon, pineapple.
- Drinks with too much sugar, such as concentrated fruit juices.
- Foods with a high sugar content because, although this ingredient is not an acidic product, it does favor the erosive action on the teeth
Symptoms of dental erosion
Enamel is practically the most resistant layer in our body and its main function is to protect each piece to prevent external factors from affecting the internal bone.
And although it has great resistance, it can wear down if unhealthy habits are maintained, among other factors that make wear possible, which compromises the health of people’s teeth.
If you do not know if the symptoms you are experiencing may be due to possible dental erosion in your mouth, you can be guided by this table of symptoms below:
Discoloration of teeth
In dental erosion there will first be a decrease in the mass of the enamel, which will make it look more transparent and expose the dentin, which is inside the tooth and has a fairly yellow tone.
Your teeth may not be dirty, but exposing the second layer that gives color to the teeth, which makes the smile look much less white and perfect.
This is one of the first symptoms that reveal that we may be facing a clear sign of dental erosion.
The second layer of the teeth called Dentin is quite sensitive to external factors that can affect the enamel (which should be protecting the dentin). So if there is no proper protection, we will have a somewhat uncomfortable feeling of sensitivity in the teeth.
It may directly affect one tooth in a very intense and unpleasant way, or on the contrary it may affect all the teeth in a lighter way but enough to be noticed. This can be quite obvious when eating very cold or very hot foods, and also in too sweet or too spicy foods. And there is even a difference when brushing, as we will not be able to pass our toothbrush over the teeth without feeling that we are hurting ourselves.
Smaller than normal teeth
By having a decrease in one of the most important layers of our teeth, our dental structure can change and look much different. They usually look rounder and give the impression that they are much smaller than before.
It is normal for the edges of the teeth to decrease in opacity, becoming much more transparent and we may even notice that they have some kind of fissure around them.
What are the consequences of dental erosion for our teeth?
The consequences caused by erosion are very similar to the symptoms. First of all, it affects dental esthetics and is noticeable to us, in the long term the teeth become much more delicate and tend to have hypersensitivity. In addition, they can present fractures or trauma more easily than an average healthy tooth. The teeth will no longer be whitish in color, as the tooth enamel at this point is non-existent. Now they will be yellow in color and will also present stains of different tones that in the end will end up being very dark and will give the impression that our teeth are rotten.
It is normal that this fact can greatly affect the self-esteem of the person who is going through this process, decreasing the amount of times he or she smiles and even avoiding speaking, so it can affect the social environment.
As the dental pieces decrease in surface area, the ability to eat normally is diminished, so it is quite tedious when eating because you feel much more sensitivity and the quality of the bite is affected.
Indeed, dental sensitivity is one of the things that most affects the person, since there is no activity in which this condition is not immersed.
Reducing the risks of presenting dental erosion is easier than solving the damage that comes after the problem has been diagnosed or the symptoms begin to appear, so we recommend maintaining a healthy dental health and constant checkups that allow us to detect problems before they really affect the person.
How is dental erosion diagnosed?
In the earliest stages there is a possibility that it may not be fully visible, so it could not be easily diagnosed because there is no clear symptom or something very specific that tells me that is what is happening.
But if the disease progresses gradually and the damage to the enamel becomes permanent it is much more obvious and that is when it is usually diagnosed, since the person did not think of going to the dentist before that.
The hypersensitivity becomes much more sensitive and the teeth lose their color, in addition to having trauma and different types of stains around the teeth ranging from yellow to black.
A simple physical examination is enough to determine that there is dental erosion, since it is evident to the naked eye.
It is essential to know the factors that develop erosion in the teeth and avoid them in order not to have problems in the future and worsen them.
Treatment of dental erosion
The solution to end the adverse effects of dental erosion depends on the type of severity that is observable in consultation.
Primarily, the specialist must determine what has caused the dental wear in order to better classify and verify the case and be able to determine the appropriate treatment and preventive measures.
Once the origin has been determined, three different types of treatment are distinguished depending on the degree of advancement of the condition
It will be sufficient to have a series of preventive guidelines that the patient needs to follow to the letter to avoid problems.
Through stopping the reasons for erosion, we will notice that the consequences will diminish before being able to reach major problems.
This kind of dental wear determines that there is a significant loss in the enamel in a particular area of the dental piece, which leaves the dentin area exposed, which makes the tooth look darker.
In this possibility there is the option of reinforcing the dental area through composite filling or with an esthetic veneer that is custom made for the patient.
When the enamel has already lost a large amount of ground in the tooth, either in the same dental piece or in several dental pieces, there needs to be a reconstruction in a large part of the piece.
It should be noted that when there is a noticeable erosion in the tooth, dentists may recommend treatments such as endodontics, inlays or dental crowns.
How can dental erosion be prevented?
In order to give you an idea of how to prevent dental erosion, here are some tips and facts about your day-to-day life that can help it develop:
Diet and lifestyle
Healthy eating is fundamental for the strengthening of our whole body, including our teeth. So this should be maintained on a regular basis.
We’re not telling you to restrict your food, but if possible take the healthier options instead of the ones that hurt you. And once in a while, treat yourself to some not-so-healthy food. Balance is key.
It is recommended that you brush your teeth after eating foods that are not so healthy or are too high in sugars or fats. The estimated measure of time is 10 minutes after ingestion. And if you do not have the ability to do so, do it as soon as possible or eat a candy with xylitol, which will help reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth that can cause tooth decay.
It is important to know that saliva decreases the negative effect of dental acids.
It is essential that you have good dental hygiene to avoid any type of disease that can develop thanks to the accumulation of bacteria.
If you want a brushing that guarantees cleanliness, do it with one with soft or moderately hard bristles that do not hurt the gums and brush each area for a maximum of 7 minutes.
In order to protect the enamel from the action of acids, it is best to use toothpastes that contain fluoride.