Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Don’t Let Your Tooth Enamel Erode

Enamel, the thin outer covering of your teeth, is the hardest substance in the human body. But it’s not invulnerable. Few parts of the human body suffer more daily pressure and punishment than your teeth. Biting, grinding and exposure to acidic drinks such as orange juice and soda can wear down your enamel over time.

Visible chips and cracks, discoloration, sensitivity to pressure and extreme temperatures, and indentations on the surface of your teeth can all be signs of enamel erosion. Knowing about enamel erosion—its causes and effects and how to prevent it—is one of the most important aspects of protecting your dental health.
Enamel erosion has four main causes:
1. Corrosion. This occurs when acidic fluids eat away at your enamel. Not only does drinking acidic or sugary drinks cause corrosion, so does consuming alcohol, vitamin C or aspirin. Corrosion is also a significant risk for people with bulimia because the contents of the stomach are highly acidic. Corrosion can be minimized or prevented by ingesting acidic foods and beverages in limited quantities and by regular brushing and flossing.
2. Trauma. This is direct damage to the tooth from physical trauma―for example, falling off a skateboard and chipping your tooth on the pavement. You can reduce the likelihood of dental trauma by using a mouthguard.
3. Abrasion. This results from steady wear and tear on the enamel. It can be caused by biting and chewing on hard objects but, more alarmingly, can also occur from brushing your teeth too hard. If you are uncertain about whether you are brushing your teeth properly, we will review proper brushing techniques with you.
4. Attrition. This results from grinding or clenching your teeth, which can cause damage to the enamel. Those who grind their teeth in their sleep should see us about acquiring a night guard to prevent this kind of damage.
Remember that enamel erosion might not be visible to the untrained eye. We’ll check your teeth when you come in for a checkup.

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