While most people are informed about the causes of dental caries, dental erosion is a less known condition although it occurs in about 10-20% of the population.
What is erosion?
Dental erosion is the irreversible loss of tooth enamel caused by acids. Dental enamel is the thin, outer layer of hard tissue that helps maintain the tooth's structure and shape while protecting it. Every time you eat or drink something acidic, the enamel on your teeth becomes softer for a short time and some of the mineral content is lost. The saliva will slowly neutralize this acidity and restore the minerals. However, if this acid attack happens too often, the mouth does not have a chance to repair itself and tiny particles of enamel can be brushed away. Over time, the surface of teeth is lost.
How does it look like?
In the beginning, erosion presents itself as an opaque spot on the tooth surface. As the erosion then progresses, saucer-shape defects develop. When the soft core of the tooth is reached, the tooth becomes sensitive to hot and cold. At that stage, discoloration of the tooth surface will also become apparent.
How to prevent erosion?
Acidic foods and beverages such as sour candies or soft drinks may cause severe dental erosion. After eating or drinking, rinse your mouth with water for 30 seconds and use a fluoride toothpaste. Recommendable is also to chew toothfriendly gum or a mint to stimulate the saliva flow. Confectionery products that carry the Toothfriendly symbol have been scientifically tested and have no risk for erosion.
Some risk factors for dental erosion: