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Why am I losing natural tooth enamel?

Written by Torrey Hills Dental

Natural Tooth Enamel?

One of the hardest substances in the human body is natural tooth enamel. However, the beverages and foods that we consume can cause various issues when it comes to the health and strength of this material. To protect natural tooth enamel, patients need to learn more about what causes erosion or decay, as well as what can be done to prevent enamel loss and how it can be treated. Drs. James Tasto and Brian Tasto of Torrey Hills Dental in the San Diego, CA community are here to help patients fully understand the problems with losing natural tooth enamel and what can be done to prevent and treat it.

What is enamel erosion?

Enamel erosion is best described as the loss or wearing of natural tooth enamel. The enamel is the outer coating of the natural tooth that provides the shine and protection needed for the tissues located inside of the tooth, known as the dental pulp. When enamel erosion occurs, patients may experience more sensitive teeth or teeth more susceptible to painful cavities.

What are the causes of enamel erosion?

There are several reasons why a patient might be losing their natural tooth enamel or experiencing unwanted wear of the enamel. Below are just a few of the primary causes of natural enamel loss:

  • Bruxism (clenching and grinding of the teeth)
  • Acid reflux (GERD)
  • GI tract issues
  • Chronic dry mouth (low salivary flow)
  • Genetics
  • Acidic medicines (antihistamines, aspirin, etc.)

Do foods and beverages contribute to the loss of natural tooth enamel?

Yes! Some of the beverages and snacks you enjoy may contribute to natural enamel loss, so be mindful of the following:

  • Soda beverages
  • Fruit juices high in sugar
  • Flavored water
  • Citrus fruits
  • Sugary snacks
  • Starchy snacks

What is the best treatment for enamel erosion?

There are a few ways a dentist may approach natural enamel loss. If the erosion is minor, the dentist may suggest the use of tooth bonding. Tooth bonding uses a composite resin material that is added to the tooth to add strength and depth to the natural tooth enamel. It can also reduce the sensitivity that patients may experience. Additionally, dental crowns may be placed over natural teeth with more serious enamel loss that can weaken a tooth and make it susceptible to breakage or future decay. Dental crowns are porcelain restorations commonly used in dentistry to keep a tooth from requiring extraction.

How do I prevent enamel erosion in the future?

  • Reduce or eliminate foods and beverages that contribute to enamel loss
  • Use a mouthwash after brushing and flossing to flush away sugars and starches
  • Chew sugarless gum to stimulate saliva flow to reduce enamel loss
  • Treat conditions that contribute to your enamel loss, such as acid reflux or GERD
  • Increase dairy consumption to strengthen the teeth with calcium
  • Use toothpaste and mouthwash with fluoride to strengthen the enamel
  • Ask about fluoride treatments in the dental office as an extra layer of protection for the teeth
  • Visit the dentist regularly to monitor for significant enamel loss or other common dental problems

Call our dentist in Carmel Valley to discuss your dental needs

If you are looking for more information on preventing enamel erosion or other problems that can impact the smile, it is time to call Drs. James Tasto and Brian Tasto of Torrey Hills Dental. San Diego, CA patients can call the office at (858) 523-1330 to request a consultation visit and discuss solutions for the smile. The practice is conveniently located at 4765 Carmel Mountain Road, Suite #101, and accepts new patients and families.

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