Tooth enamel is the thin outer covering of the tooth and is the hardest tissue in the human body. Enamel helps to protect your teeth while chewing, biting, crunching and grinding. Enamel is not impervious to damage. It can chip, crack and also erode when acids wear it away.
Enamel erosion can be caused by consuming excessive soft drinks which contain high levels of phosphoric and citric acids; acidic fruit drinks; dry mouth (xerostomia); a diet high in sugar and starches; acid reflux disease (GERD); gastrointestinal problems; medications such as aspirin and antihistamines; genetically inherited conditions and environmental factors, such as friction, wear and tear; stress and corrosion.
Environmental causes of tooth erosion include attrition, or a natural tooth-to-tooth friction that happens when you clench or grind your teeth; abrasion caused by brushing teeth too hard, improper flossing or biting on hard objects such as fingernails, pens, bottle caps or other hard items. Abfraction occurs from stress fractures in the tooth, such as flexing or bending of the tooth. Corrosion occurs when acidic content hits the tooth from highly acidic medications, food or from frequent vomiting from bulimia or alcoholism.
Treatment of tooth enamel loss depends on the severity of the problem. Sometimes tooth bonding is used to protect the tooth and increase cosmetic appearance. But if the enamel loss is significant, the dentist may recommend a crown or veneer. The crown may protect the tooth from further decay.
Todd McAdams, D.D.S.
420 Rocky Knob Lane
Fayetteville, TN 37334