Why tooth erosion isn't so good for your smile
Smiling is everyone’s best feature.
We honestly mean that. A smile brightens everyone’s features. But, what if you’re self conscious of your smile? Maybe your teeth aren't as white as you want them to be. Or perhaps, the teeth look a bit worn down. These might be signs that the teeth have some erosion. (Cue dramatic music—dun dun dun!) Is there any hope for your smile? Of course! Keep reading to find out how.
First off, what does erosion of the teeth mean?
Erosion is the wearing down of the tooth’s enamel. It can be caused by acid erosion and physical erosion. Acid erosion can be a result of acidic foods and beverages and stomach acid (i.e. heartburn). Reference 1 Physical erosion can be caused by harsh and abrasive brushing and grinding of the teeth (aka bruxism). Reference 2
There are a variety of signs to look out for to determine whether you might have erosion.
You might have erosion of the teeth if you experience sensitivity to hot and/or cold foods. If your teeth don’t look like they have corners, and they have a more rounded appearance then you might have erosion. If your teeth look discolored or even start to look discolored, you might have erosion. Other symptoms include dents and/or cracks in the teeth. Reference 3
If you suspect that your teeth are eroded, there are a few things that you can do on your own to prevent any further damage to your smile.
When eating and drinking acidic foods--such as, wine, candy, or soda—you can reduce the effect of acid on your teeth by drinking water with your food. It rinses away the acids, so they don’t sit on the enamel for very long. Reference 1
Make sure that you choose a toothbrush with soft bristles. A soft toothbrush is sufficient to clean your teeth without being overly harsh on your enamel. Reference 2
Wait, at least, 30 minutes after eating or drinking to brush your teeth. Your enamel is softened by food and drink, and if your teeth are already eroded, you want to protect the enamel that’s left. So don’t brush the enamel away. Wait for 30 minutes to get out that toothbrush. Reference 1
If you have acid reflux (aka GERD), schedule an appointment with your primary care provider to see what can be done to treat it. Stomach acid is uncomfortable for you, so think about how unpleasant it is for your teeth, too. You’ll feel better for treating the acid reflux, and your teeth will thank you, too.
Don’t stop with the above steps, though.
It is imperative that you see your dentist to treat the erosion, if you already have it. Regular dental appointments will definitely help your dentist detect any possible signs of erosion so that it doesn’t worsen. He can also offer options to treat the causes of erosion. For example, if you experience bruxism, we offer some options to treat that. If you are concerned about your teeth looking worn down because of erosion, Dr. McVey can offer different options to improve their appearance.
Your smile doesn’t have to hide if your teeth have been worn down due to erosion.
This can be prevented by some of the actions that are listed above. But, if your smile is already suffering from a worn down appearance, there are options to treat and correct it. We’re more than happy to help you when you’re ready. We’re always ready to make your smile the best that it can be.