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.