This edition’s topic: Dental Erosion
What is dental erosion?
Dental erosion is the permanent destruction of the crystals that make up your teeth. It is caused by acidic substances that are either ingested (food/drinks) or produced in your stomach. Erosion will present with no symptoms initially, but once the outer surface of the tooth (the enamel) is dissolved exposing the second layer of the tooth (the dentine) increased sensitivity, pain and in worst case scenarios loss of teeth may occur.
If not spotted early by a dental professional, dental erosion can lead to complex, lengthy and expensive treatment in the future.
What causes dental erosion?
Dental erosion can either be produced by stomach acids (intrinsic) or by acids in the food/drinks you consume (extrinsic).
These are acids that are produced inside the stomach which makes its way into the mouth from either gastric reflux or vomiting.
In contrast to intrinsic acids, extrinsic acids occur from external consumption (food or drink). There are numerous foods and beverages that can lead to dental erosion. The following list contains some examples: soft drinks, sport drinks, fruit juice, energy drinks, citrus foods, lemon flavoured food/drinks, cordials, vitamin water, vinegar and wines.
Food acids are also commonly added into many other foods. When checking the ingredients list, keep an eye out for 330 (citric acid), 331 (sodium citrate), and 338 (phosphoric acid).
What can you do to prevent/reduce effects of dental erosion?
Early detection and management is the trick to minimising the damage caused by dental erosion. Some tips to prevent and reduce effects of dental erosion are:
- Minimise acidic foods/drinks in your diet. Follow all acidic exposures by rinsing with fluoride mouthwash, rinsing with baking soda mouth rinse or consuming dairy products. Avoid brushing for at least 30 minutes.
- Drink acidic drinks using a straw to avoid the drink touching and therefore damaging your teeth. Avoid sipping or swishing the drink inside your mouth.
- Use sugar-free gum. Chewing sugar free gum promotes saliva production which has protective factors that can neutralise the acid in your mouth
Article written by Dr Mishca Sathyajit (Dentist at the Balnarring Dental Centre)
If you are worried about dental erosion and would like your teeth checked by a dental professional for this condition, feel free to contact Balnarring Dental Centre on 5983 5348 or visit us at 19 Balnarring road, Balnarring.