Acid, Enamel, Erosion, Oh My! How Acidity Affects Enamel and Aids in Tooth Wear
Unlike abrasion and attrition—the physical types of tooth wear—erosion is the third type of tooth wear, but is caused by chemical decaying of teeth by acidic substances. With this type of tooth wear, acid is the main culprit of erosion, but there are a variety of acids that cause tooth wear, such as different types of foods, drinks and health issues. Dr. Jennifer Yue elaborates on the topic of erosion to help you fill in any blanks you may have about your tooth wear issues.
Things You Consume That Can Cause Erosion:
Just like with everything else in life, what you consume impacts many aspects of your health—and the condition of your teeth is no different. From drinks to carbs, the following is a breakdown of the foods and drinks that can lead to tooth wear:
Beverages – Acidic drinks include sodas, sparkling waters and fruit juices; they contain high levels of phosphoric and citric acids which can break down tooth enamel.
Fruits and Veggies – Lemons, limes, plums, grapes, pomegranates and grapefruits are the most acidic fruits because of their high pH levels; sauerkraut, cabbage, beets, corn, mushrooms and broccoli are the most acidic veggies.
Foods – Processed foods (potato chips, white bread, crackers), grains, sugar, dairy products and process meats (corned beef and turkey).
Medications – Cough syrups, Aspirin and Antihistamines.
Although decreasing how often you consume these foods can help keep your tooth wear from worsening, dental treatments and procedures are the only ways to fix erosion that has already occured.
Health Conditions That Can Cause Erosion:
In addition to impacting your health, certain health conditions can also impact your teeth enamel. These health conditions include:
- Acid reflux disease
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD),
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Inherited genetic conditions
- Dry mouth or low salivary flow (Xerostomia)
- Eating disorders
Because erosion that has already impacted your teeth cannot be reversed, it is crucial that you
contact your dentist to find out the best dental treatments that can help resolve your tooth wear.
Symptoms of Erosion
Now that you know what causes erosion, here’s how to determine if your enamel is suffering from
this type of tooth wear:
- Sensitivity in teeth – This sensitivity may be experienced when hot or cold foods are consumed, when brushing teeth or when the gum line is exposed to air.
- Yellowing of teeth – This occurs when enamel has worn so thin that the underlying layer of teeth—which is yellow— is seen.
- Unevening of tooth edges – Rough edges of teeth occurs and can eventually lead to chips and cracks.
- Shiny spots on teeth – This is a sign that teeth have lost minerals.
- See-through teeth – When enamel wears down, teeth become so thin that they look transparent.
- An increase in tooth decay – This occurs when the erosion takes away the protective surface from teeth, making them more susceptible to cavities.
- Tooth fracturing – As enamel weakens, teeth become more prone to cracking and fracturing.
If you can see or feel any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately.
If it’s been awhile since your last dental check up or you’re looking to resolve your tooth wear issues, Dr. Yue can help transform your teeth and your oral health. Contact Dr. Yue today!