Tooth Erosion has become an increasingly common feature of modern diets and lifestyles.
Dietary acids and stress are two very prominent causes of tooth erosion but act in two very different ways.
Fizzy drinks (including fizzy water), fruit juices and even apparently healthy drinks like smoothies, can erode the enamel on the teeth due to their highly acidic nature.
Tooth Erosion and Enamel
Enamel is the hardest substance found in the human body and has a similar tensile strength to stainless steel. Unfortunately, it cannot regenerate, so once it has been worn away, it is very important to preserve what is left.
The enamel on an adult tooth measures approximately 2mm in depth and is entirely made of mineral. This mineral can be dissolved when exposed to acids regularly over a long period. The acid demineralises the surface of the tooth, leaving microscopic holes in the enamel.
Eventually, the enamel can thin out causing the underlying dentine to be exposed which can cause teeth sensitivity, a prevalent symptom which would then need the appropriate management or treatment. This usually consists of fluoride varnishes, protective composite resin fillings, or in severe cases, crown or veneers. This, of course, would be alongside changes in diet and lifestyle.
Tooth Erosion lifestyle causes
Another lifestyle cause of tooth erosion is teeth grinding or clenching of the teeth at night.
This is usually as a result of stress or anxiety which causes the muscles of the jaw to tense up at night during the sleep and cause involuntary movements of the jaw muscles manifesting as teeth grinding (bruxism).
This grinding of the teeth erodes the enamel by process of attrition whereby the force of the teeth rubbing together forcibly wears away the enamel, leading to chipped or cracked teeth and exposed dentine sensitivity as mentioned previously with dietary erosion.
Bruxism can me managed with passive relaxation techniques, alongside custom made mouth guards.