Scottsbluff Dentist Talks Enamel Erosion, Protection
Enamel, the hardest substance in the human body, forms the outer shell of a tooth. It protects teeth from the things we do every day, such as chewing and biting, and insulates teeth from temperature extremes. Once damaged – by erosion, chipping, or cracking – enamel doesn’t regenerate itself.
Tooth enamel is under daily assault from the things we eat and drink, our activities, medications, and even certain medical conditions in the body. Dr. Gary Cheloha provides customized care for patients in Scottsbluff NE and surrounding areas. He’ll help you keep tooth enamel strong for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
Enemies of Tooth Enamel
The process of tooth enamel wearing away and thinning is called erosion. A variety of things can cause enamel erosion, including:
- Acidic foods and beverages
- A diet laden with starches and sugars
- Certain medications, including antihistamines and aspirin
- Acid reflux disease
- Chronic dry mouth (xerostomia)
- Brushing too hard or using a toothbrush with stiff bristles
- Teeth grinding (bruxism)
- Excessive plaque
Sometimes, our activities damage tooth enamel. For example, using teeth to open packages, chewing on pens or pencils, or otherwise using teeth as tools. These actions can cause enamel to chip and crack.
Signs of Enamel Erosion
Damaged tooth enamel can result in dental sensitivity or discoloration. The discoloration occurs as the dentin underneath the enamel starts to show through a thinned layer of enamel. Other signs include visible cracks and chips and indentations noticeable on the surface of teeth.
Protecting Tooth Enamel
Here’s what you can do to protect against enamel erosion:
- Increase water intake
- Chew sugarless gum
- Cut back on or eliminate acidic beverages
- Reduce sugary/starchy foods in your diet
- Use a straw when drinking soda or other acidic beverages
- Use fluoride toothpaste
- Brush at least twice a day (and try to brush after snacking)
- Floss daily
- Visit the dentist for six-month checkups and cleanings
Dentist-administered treatments for enamel erosion may include applying dental sealants, bonding, or crowns to compromised teeth.
Contact Monument Smiles in Scottsbluff NE to schedule an appointment with Dr. Cheloha.