Though enamel is one of the strongest substances in the human body, it can be weakened over time by a number of substances. This is particularly true when it comes to tooth decay and tooth erosion. Many think they these are synonymous terms, but in fact, tooth erosion and tooth decay are two separate matters. When you visit our Boston cosmetic dentistry center, we can cover these issues in more detail. With that said, we'd like to provide a brief rundown about tooth erosion right now.
What is tooth erosion?
Tooth erosion refers to the gradual weakening and wearing down of tooth structure as a result of an acidic pH in the mouth. This can leave teeth damaged, discolored, and brittle. The common treatments will often involve restorative and implant dentistry.
The Difference Between Tooth Erosion and Tooth Decay
While both tooth decay and tooth erosion result in the damage to the tooth structure, each occurs for different reasons. We mentioned above that tooth erosion is caused by an acidic pH in the mouth. Tooth decay, by contrast, is caused by bacteria in the mouth and plaque. This is an important distinction that must be made.
Causes of Tooth Erosion
There are many different foods and substances that can cause the pH in the mouth to be more acidic. This includes apples, citrus fruits and juices, beer, vinegar, soy sauce, and coffee. The acidic fluid in the digestive tract can also make the mouth's pH acidic, which explains why bulimics often have poor dental health. By noting the various causes of tooth erosion, the team at our cosmetic dentistry practice in Boston can devise the best possible treatment option.
Dangers of Tooth Erosion
One of the biggest dangers of tooth erosion is the weakening of tooth structure. Teeth that have been eroded are more prone to chipping, cracking, and breaking, which can lead to major dental problems down the line.
In addition, the appearance of the teeth can be adversely affected by tooth erosion. Discoloration can occur, and the teeth themselves can appear jagged, damaged, or misshapen.
Treatments for Tooth Erosion
There are numerous ways that tooth erosion can be treated. For major structural damage, it's important to consider using Boston dental crowns. These will cap the damaged tooth and protect it from further damage and harm. In some cases, the tooth will be so damaged that it needs to be extracted and replaced. In such cases, dental implants may be used.
More than anything, prevention is key. Be sure to brush your teeth and floss regularly. It's a good idea to drink lots of water as well, as this can help remove acidic substances in the mouth and maintain a more basic or balanced pH.
Learn More About Tooth Erosion and Treatment
Though tooth erosion can adversely affect your overall dental health, there are many options for effective treatment. If you would like to learn more about tooth erosion and what can be done to address it, be sure to contact our Boston cosmetic and restorative dentistry practice today. We look forward to discussing these matters with you in more detail.