What Causes Enamel Erosion?

Enamel is the hard outer layer of your teeth that protects the sensitive inner layers. It’s the hardest substance in the human body and protects the teeth from multiple problems. Enamel erosion occurs when that outermost layer wears away. Certain habits and conditions cause this to happen rapidly, putting your teeth at risk.

What Causes Enamel Erosion

Acidic Foods and Drinks

These include soda, citrus fruits, sports drinks, pickles, certain salad dressings, and foods with a lot of vinegar. A diet high in these things exposes your teeth to acid, demineralizing the tooth enamel. When the exposure persists, it erodes the enamel. After consuming things like this, drink water to help neutralize the acids.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Not brushing, flossing, or visiting the dentist enough can contribute to dental erosion. Plaque and tartar build up on your teeth, creating appealing areas for bacteria to feed. When they have a significant food source, they release an acidic byproduct that damages your enamel.

Dry Mouth

Certain medications, health conditions, and frequent mouth breathing can all cause dry mouth. Saliva is essential to protecting the tooth enamel. It neutralizes acids in your mouth and assists in remineralizing the teeth. When you don’t have enough saliva, acid and bacteria levels increase, contributing to dental erosion.

Teeth Grinding

Chronic teeth grinding involves repeatedly grinding and clenching your teeth. This usually happens at night or subconsciously during the day, so you don’t even realize you do it. It puts a lot of force and pressure on your teeth. As a continuous habit, it starts to wear down the tooth enamel. Using a mouthguard at night can help prevent the forces from harming your teeth.

Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard

Yes, it is possible to brush your teeth too aggressively. Using too much force or hard-bristled toothbrushes can harm your teeth instead of help. It slowly wears away the enamel. Ensure you brush with soft-bristled toothbrushes, as even medium can be too harsh for your teeth. Use a fluoride toothpaste to help strengthen your tooth enamel.

Acid Reflux Conditions

Acid reflux happens when stomach acid flows up into your esophagus, sometimes even reaching your mouth. Its acidity is extremely high, making even the smallest bit hitting your teeth dangerous. If this happens often, the enamel erodes quickly. Get treatment to keep reflux under control for ideal oral health.

Consuming Too Many Acidic Medications

You may not realize it, but many over-the-counter medications are acidic. Aspirin, Vitamin C supplements, and ibuprofen all have acidic properties that can harm the enamel. Follow the recommended dose for these medications, and don’t take extra amounts unless your healthcare provider says it’s necessary.

Enamel Erosion Prevention

Certain habits and routines can help prevent dental erosion. These include:

  • Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly
  • Minimizing consumption of acidic foods and beverages
  • Visiting the dentist for routine checkups and cleanings
  • Using fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinses
  • Drinking water regularly – both to neutralize acids and to encourage saliva production.

If you’re concerned about enamel erosion, schedule an appointment with your dental provider for a professional opinion.