Posted By: Jenny Lee, D.D.S. | Saturday, June 1, 2013

Tooth erosion is the loss of the hard tooth structure that protects the tooth.  This layer is called enamel and can be worn away by acid.  Have you ever had sensitive, discolored teeth, especially by the gum line?  Do your teeth look transparent near the edges of the biting surfaces, or are they cupping or cracking and chipping?  These are some signs of erosion.

Tooth erosion is mainly caused by acid.  Carbonated drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, pure fruit juices, coffee and red wine all contain high levels of acid.  Conditions such as bulimia, acid reflux and medications that dry the mouth can also cause tooth erosion.

Some ways to prevent tooth erosion is to cut down on your consumption of drinks that are highly acidic or drink them quickly through a straw.  Water intake in conjunction with the acidic beverages can also help neutralize the acid.  Also, refrain from brushing right after acidic meals and/or beverages.  Your saliva can also be tested to evaluate it’s buffering capacity. Brush your teeth with a soft bristle toothbrush and chewing gum with xylitol, a natural sugar found in birch trees and starves the cavity forming bacteria will decrease your risk for erosion.

If you have suffered from erosion, especially around the gum line you  may be a candidate for gum grafting.  Click on the highlighted areas to learn more.