Humans are often advised to chew a bite of food approximately 32 times before swallowing. That can bump up to 40 times for steak and nuts, or down to 10 for watermelon, but the bottom line is your teeth will be called upon millions and millions of times to chew your food throughout your life.
That is asking a lot of your teeth, and specifically it is putting stress on your enamel. The tough outer layer of a tooth that is the hardest substance in the human body, enamel is still vulnerable to wear and tear over the course of time.
Read on to learn how tooth enamel can be damaged, as well as how to prevent enamel erosion and even repair it.
How Does Tooth Enamel Sustain Damage?
Enamel can be eroded by acids, chipped, or ground away. One of the most common dental problems, enamel erosion is often related directly to what you’re eating and drinking.
Oftentimes, bacteria in plaque produced by eating sugary foods is attacking the enamel. In children, enamel erosion is almost always related to diet with sugary snacks and drinks as the main culprits.
For adults, the causes can be more complicated. Diet does play a big role, especially with high-acid foods and drinks. But other factors like dry mouth and acid reflux come into play, as well as certain medications and even genetics. Regular teeth grinding can lead to enamel erosion with molars feeling the brunt of the damage.
How Can You Prevent Enamel Erosion?
Fortunately, most methods to protect your enamel are simple to execute:
- Drink plenty of water
- Limit high-acid, sugary drinks like sodas
- Consume citrus fruits and juices in moderation
- Save sweet treats for after a meal and then brush your teeth
- Chew sugar-free gum after eating
- Brush regularly with fluoride toothpaste
- Rinse with a fluoride mouthwash
- Visit your dentist regularly for checkups
- Discuss sealants and fluoride varnish treatments for your molars with your dentist
- Talk to your dentist about a custom mouthguard if teeth grinding is an issue
What are Your Options to Repair Enamel Erosion?
Prevention is key to keep tooth enamel healthy, but if the damage is done, your dentist can repair the erosion with a cosmetic approach. The best option depends on the extent of the damage:
- Dental Bonding: for small irregularity in a single tooth or moderate damage to a few
- Dental Veneers: for front teeth that have extensive staining or when you want to change the shape or length of teeth
- Dental Crowns: for teeth that are severely worn down by enamel erosion, especially if teeth grinding is involved
About the Practice
At deJong and Plaisance Family Dentistry, our goal is to provide outstanding oral care with state-of-the-art technology in a comfortable environment. Dr. deJong and Dr. Plaisance want your entire family to count on them as a full-service answer for any dental needs. Both men have been multi-time selections by New Orleans Magazine as a Top Dentist. To schedule an appointment for preventive care to protect against enamel erosion or to learn about other dental services they provide, visit our website or call (504) 738-5171.