Tooth erosion is a slow process that if left unchecked will gradually destroy the surface enamel of the teeth. Not to be confused with the results of tooth decay, erosion isn’t caused by bacteria. In a case of tooth erosion the damage is done by a chemical reaction to acids. Because time is the enemy in cases of tooth erosion, it is imperative to identify it at an early stage.

Once a diagnosis is made the next step is to find out what is causing the erosion. It could be related to the patient’s diet, or an existing medical condition could explain it. If the source of the deterioration is found to be dietary and the damage has not advanced to a stage where it is noticeable, your dentist will probably suggest a professional fluoride treatment, and advise following up at home by using fluoride dental products such as toothpaste and mouthwash, on a regular basis.

If the damage is more substantial, crowning or bonding may be recommended, but if the erosion has advanced too extensively it should be evaluated by a cosmetic dentistry specialist who can propose a treatment plan to restore the teeth to a functional level.

Fruit juices, carbonated soda, and sports drinks are all high in acid content and can be harmful to tooth enamel. If you can’t totally abstain, follow your dentist’s advice and limit your consumption of any acidic beverages and try to brush after you drink. Use a straw and avoid swishing the drink around in your mouth.

Acid that comes from the things we eat and drink is the more common culprit in cases of tooth erosion, but it is not the only explanation. Dentists also consider the possibility that the corrosive acid is contained within the body, and when it comes in contact with the teeth through coughing or regurgitation it can begin to erode the protective enamel. Acid reflux and eating disorders that cause frequent vomiting are good examples of intrinsic causes of tooth erosion.

Spokane Valley Dentistry offers services for all aspects of cosmetic dentistry. Call 509-926-6261 today.