What Causes Tooth Enamel Loss?


Did you know tooth enamel is the hardest tissue in your body? This thin outer covering on your teeth is translucent, meaning you can see light through it. Regular dental checkups and cleanings can remove surface stains that form on your enamel due to coffee, tea, red wine, and cola. But chips or cracks that form on enamel require more serious intervention.

Signs of enamel erosion

Depending on how far the enamel loss has progressed, you might notice:

  • Yellow discoloration
  • Mild to severe sensitivity to sweets and temperature
  • Indentations on the surface of the tooth
  • Cracks, chips, and jagged edges

As the enamel erodes, the tooth becomes more vulnerable to decay and cavities. If the cavity grows large enough, it can cause a painful infection or abscess.

What causes tooth enamel loss?

Although enamel is a hard protector of teeth, it can chip and crack. This is frequently due to a gradual eroding of this outer shell on the tooth surface. One of the most common causes of enamel erosion is acid. It frequently comes in contact with your teeth from:

  • Soft drinks that contain high levels of phosphoric and citric acids
  • Fruit drinks (some acids in fruit drinks are more erosive than battery acid, reports WebMD)
  • Dry mouth or low salivary flow
  • A diet high in sugar and starchy carbohydrates
  • Acid reflux disease (GERD)
  • Corrosion from frequent vomiting from bulimia or alcoholism

Other environmental causes of tooth enamel loss

Many of the things we do every day also contribute to a wearing away of tooth enamel. They include:

  • Friction from grinding or clenching your teeth
  • Brushing your teeth too hard or improper flossing
  • Biting on hard objects, such as fingernails, ice, and pens
  • Stress fractures in the tooth

Treating tooth enamel loss

If enamel erosion is not significant, your dentist may bond the tooth to prevent further damage while improving the cosmetic appearance. If the enamel loss is significant, your dentist may recommend covering the tooth with a crown or veneer. This can help protect it from further decay.

Dr. S. Marc DiBenedetto provides exceptional dental care in his Beavercreek, Ohio office. Whether you’re looking for ways to make your smile more beautiful or you need a checkup to keep it that way, call us today at (937) 429-1761 to schedule an appointment.

Causes of Tooth Pain

Tooth pain is a common problem. Most adults will have at least one experience with tooth pain during their lifetime. By identifying the common causes of your pain, it is possible to find a solution and proper treatment process to address the discomfort.

Sensitivity to Temperatures

Tooth pain that occurs when eating hot or cold food and that fades quickly is not usually a sign of a problem. In many cases, the sensitivity stems from the way you brush your teeth, the hardness of the toothbrush, or small cavities. Using a soft-bristle toothbrush and brushing in an up-and-down motion, as well as using toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth will often help. If you have concerns, then a dentist can check to ensure that the sensitivity does not stem from small cavities.

Pain When Biting Foods

Sharp pain that occurs when you bite down on food is often a sign of a cavity, loose filling, or a crack in your tooth. If you notice sharp pain, then you want to discuss the problem with our dental professionals. We can determine if the pain stems from a cracked tooth, a loose filling, or a new cavity. After identifying the underlying cause, we provide appropriate treatment to help with your pain.

Lingering Pain

Lingering pain after eating hot or cold foods is a concern. It may suggest you have tooth trauma or severe decay on your tooth. If you notice that your pain lingers and does not fade, then talk to our dentist. We will identify the cause of the pain and provide appropriate treatment based on your needs.

Dull Aches

Dull aches and pressure in your jaws is not a sign of a serious problem with your teeth. In many cases, it means you are grinding your teeth when you sleep. It may also stem from sinus pressure. A dentist can determine the cause and recommend appropriate treatment.

The cause of tooth pain depends on the type of pain you experience and the situation. It may stem from cavities or cracked teeth. It may also relate to trauma or grinding your teeth. If you have tooth pain, then you want to discuss the discomfort with our dental professionals to identify the cause of your pain.

Why Regular Dental Checkups Are So Important

Keeping teeth and gums as healthy as possible results in an attractive smile, decreases the chances of the onset of periodontal disease, tooth decay, cavities, and gingivitis as well as promotes whole-body health. Those with periodontal disease, for instance, not only experience significant tooth loss, but they’re also at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular conditions. Close attention to oral hygiene combined with regular dental checkups provide the best way to prevent or slow down these conditions. In most cases, dental checkups should be scheduled every six months.

What to Expect From a Dental Checkup

Most oral health care providers begin a routine checkup by asking if you’ve noticed any issues with your teeth or gums. They will then do a thorough inspection designed to identify cavities and other signs of tooth decay. They’ll also check for buildups of tartar and plaque on the surface of your teeth — these buildups are one of the primary culprits in the development of tooth decay.

After carefully checking your teeth, the dentist will then use a specially designed tool to examine your gums. This tool measures the spaces between your gums and teeth — the more space there is, the higher the likelihood that you’re in the initial stages of gum disease. The good news about gum disease is that it’s reversible when detected in the early stages. Your dentist will be able to provide you with a customized care plan if gum disease symptoms are present.

A comprehensive dental checkup also includes checking the tongue, neck, and throat for any abnormality.

The Importance of a Good Professional Teeth Cleaning

The last step in your biannual dental checkup is a good teeth cleaning. This is important because professional teeth cleaning removes an accumulated plaque and tartar on the surface of your teeth. Keep in mind that although regular brushing at home helps keep plaque levels low, tartar cannot be removed with a regular toothbrush.

Please feel free to contact us for more information on being proactive about your dental health.