WHAT CAUSES ENAMEL EROSION?
Tooth enamel is the hard, outer surface of the teeth. Although it’s harder than any other substance in the body, over time it can gradually wear away, or erode, and expose the softer dentine beneath, which may lead to tooth sensitivity. There are several reasons your enamel can wear away, from the way you brush your teeth to your food and drink choices.
WHAT CAUSES ENAMEL LOSS?
Here we look at the most common causes of tooth enamel wear:
- Brushing too hard – If you brush too frequently and too hard, eventually it can lead to loss of enamel and you can also develop receding gums.
- Acid erosion of teeth – This is caused by the acids contained in many everyday foods and drinks, such as fizzy drinks, fruit, fruit juice and wine. When acidic food or drink comes into contact with teeth, it can temporarily soften the outermost layer of hard enamel. If you brush your teeth straight after consuming acidic food and drink, this softened layer of enamel can be more easily removed. If this happens frequently it can lead to tooth enamel erosion.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR ENAMEL IS ERODING
Here are a few suggestions and steps you can take to help take care of your tooth enamel¹:
- Use a specialist toothpaste with Fluoride to help strengthen your enamel.
- Cut down on the amount of acidic food and drink, particularly fizzy drinks; reduce the amount and frequency throughout the day.
- Wait for at least an hour after eating or drinking acidic food and drink before brushing your teeth. Acidic food and drink can temporarily soften enamel, but if you wait a while before brushing, your saliva is a buffer and neutralizes the acid effects, helping to prevent enamel loss when you brush your teeth.
- Don’t brush too hard. Use a soft-to medium-bristled brush.
Sticking to a good oral health routine, including regular visits to your dentist, is the best way to protect against acid erosion on teeth and tooth sensitivity.
Do your teeth sometimes hurt but you're not sure why? Here's a guide to help identify the symptoms that may indicate tooth sensitivity.
¹Oral Health Foundation. 2018. Sensitive Teeth. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.dentalhealth.org/tell-me-about/topic/sundry/sensitive-teeth. [Accessed 09 March 2018].