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Tooth Erosion: How It Is Caused and How It Can Be Treated

By summer on October 10, 2014


Middle-aged man showing off his healthy, radiant smile, free from tooth erosionThere are few substances in nature as strong and resilient as human tooth enamel. Nevertheless, it is not invulnerable to damage. While advanced restorative dentistry treatments exist to repair the damage that occurs due to tooth erosion, it is far better to address potential oral health issues in their earliest stages. In doing so, dentists can help patients maintain as much of the natural structures of their teeth as possible while avoiding more costly dental procedures down the road.

At the family and cosmetic dentistry practice of Dr. Burton Gooch in Birmingham, tooth erosion treatments of all types are available, from those that correct damage from minor tooth erosion to those that reconstruct teeth that have suffered major damage. Whatever your dental needs, you can rest assured that Dr. Gooch will find the treatment or combination of treatments best suited to giving you the healthy, radiant smile you deserve.

Possible Causes of Tooth Erosion

Your mouth is naturally filled with acids that can eat away at the enamel that protects the teeth if left unchecked. People who brush and floss their teeth daily as directed, in addition to visiting their dentists twice a year for professional cleanings and comprehensive exams, are more likely to keep these acids from eroding their enamel and therefore causing long-term damage to their teeth. However, dangerous acids can also be introduced into the mouth through:

  • The consumption of certain foods and liquids, including citrus fruits, berries, soda, wine, salad dressings, tomatoes, vinegar, and jams and jellies.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): This digestive disorder is marked by the backflow of stomach acids from the stomach into the esophagus, with some of these acids finding their way into the mouth.
  • Vomiting: Those who vomit more often than the average person or who suffer from bulimia are more susceptible to tooth erosion.
  • Bruxism: Otherwise known as chronic tooth grinding, bruxism can cause tooth enamel to become worn.
  • Smoking: Smoking has many negative effects on a person’s oral health, including wearing down enamel.

Enamel is the tooth’s first and most effective line of defense against harmful bacteria and food particles. Unfortunately, once the enamel has become eroded, it does not regenerate. If any of the enamel completely wears away, that portion of the tooth becomes highly vulnerable to decay, chipping, cracking, discoloration, and other permanent damage.

Tooth Erosion Treatments

The best way to ensure that tooth erosion does not progress to the point that serious long-term damage is done is to attend twice-yearly professional dental exams. In many cases, Dr. Gooch will be able to suggest lifestyle changes that will help to preserve patients’ oral health, such as limiting exposure to foods and liquids high in acidic content and improving their at-home oral health regimens. If more serious steps need to be taken, he can devise a customized restorative dentistry plan.

Learn More about Tooth Erosion Causes and Treatments

If you would like to learn more about tooth erosion causes and treatments, or to schedule your initial consultation with Dr. Gooch, please contact our family and cosmetic dentistry practice today.

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