Tooth decay and erosion and how to prevent it
We all want happy and healthy teeth that look great. For the most part, people know to brush their teeth, floss, and use fluoride as part of their daily home care routine. However, there are some factors in our daily routine that most people don’t take into account. This isn’t a personal failing on the part of anyone, it is just that some routines can produce a level of wear and tear that not many people take into account.
Our teeth are made up of four main parts. Enamel, Dentin, Cementum and pulp. Enamel is the outer protective layer. While it is the hardest part of the body (stronger than bone), it is not invincible. It contains no living cells, meaning it can not repair itself if damaged by decay or wear.
Although a dentist can repair wear and tear with composite bonding, veneers and porcelain crown, best defense against tooth decay and erosion is prevention.
Causes of tooth decay and erosion
Tooth decay and erosion occur as a result of an acidic environment in the mouth. Prolonged exposure to acid, weakens the enamel, eroding away the enamel and eventually the underlying tooth structure.
There are few ways in which acids can dissolve enamel over time. Some of which are more preventable than others.
- Sugars – Major cause of tooth decay are sugary, sticky foods and beverages. Sugars in food and drinks react with the bacteria in your mouth, forming acids. Every time you eat or drink anything containing sugars, these acids attack the teeth and start to soften and dissolve the enamel.
- Coffee, wine and Citric Fruits – These are either naturally acidic or are acidic through a certain type of processing. While coffee or a glass of wine is not bad for your teeth, constant exposure to all of these things will weaken the enamel, making it more vulnerable to wear.
- Carbonated drinks and sodas – Constant sipping on sodas is the worse. Not only they are loaded with sugar, but they are also acidic (phosphoric acid). Creating an environment that weakens the enamel and more prone to tooth decay. Carbonated water are a better choice, as they are not as acidic and sugary. However, best option would be still water.
- Smoking – Smoking increases your risk of tooth decay by creating a dry environment. Normally your saliva washes away the plaque. Without good salivary flow, more plaque remains on your gums and teeth increasing your risk of developing gum disease and tooth decay.
- Dry mouth- Dry mouth can increase your risk of developing caries due to lack of saliva washing away the plaque. Dry mouth can be caused by certain medication or certain Auto Immune disorders such as Sjogran’s
- Stomach Acid – Acid reflux can contribute to enamel wear and erosion by exposing your teeth to stomach acid. Be sure to consult with your physician to address acid reflux issues.
Best defense agains enamel erosion and tooth decay is prevention.
- Good home care- Be sure to brush twice a day and floss daily to remove plaque build up off your teeth.
- Fluoride- Use fluoridated toothpaste or mouthwash. If you are prone to getting cavities, use prescription strength fluoride products such as Enamelon. Regardless of the source, fluoride helps to remineralize the weak enamel spots, preventing them from developing into cavities.
- Reduce sugar and soda consumption.
- Drink plenty of water if suffering from dry mouth. There are also products such as Biotin that help with dry mouth.
If you are in need of a Dentist in Austin, that will make you feel comfortable with treatment, consider Downtown Dental Design. If you think you need composit bonding, porcelain crown and veneers to help counter erosion damage or tooth decay, feel free to give us a visit and see if we are a right fit for you!