Not to be confused with the plaque acid that ferments and causes dental decay, DENTAL EROSION is caused by prolonged and regular consumption of acidic foods and drinks that we consume in our diet such as (but not limited to) CITRUS FRUITS, FRUIT JUICES (INCLUDING FRESH), ANY CARBONATED BEVERAGE INCLUDING SODA WATER & SPARKLING WATER ( whilst these drinks have no sugar – they both contain carbonic acid to make them carbonated) …, VINEGARS, ANYTHING PICKLED, WINES & CIDERS ETC & ANYTHING THAT IS ‘SOUR’ OR ‘TART’.
When we diagnose dental erosion it is very important to identify the following; the acid source (s), AND whether it is currently active or older/previous damage. Whilst most erosion is slow moving – irreversible tooth substance loss can result in functional and aesthetic problems. The period of time erosive dietary acids remain in contact with teeth and the frequency of contact are the biggest indicators of severity and rate of progression. In some cases erosion damage can be so severe it requires extensive treatment to restore function.
The extent of the damage can also be ‘modified’ by;
amount and quality of saliva, the patients’ oral hygiene practices and the presence or absence of fluoride to repair the early reversible damage.
if active dental erosion is identified in its early stages we can educate the patient and implement strategies and regimes to stop any progression and irreversible damage.
early signs include: rounding of sharp line angles and edges in teeth , yellow patches where dentine has been exposed, dentine cupping or scooping (very common), thinning or translucent enamel and ‘flat looking teeth’
Who is most at risk?
people whose lifestyles include; Illegal or prescription drugs
people who consume various gym preparation drinks and people that experience dehydration following frequent extreme exercise like Cross Fit, Boxing or any other high intensity sport or fitness regime.
chronic asthma sufferers – through the prolonged and regular use of various puffers
adolescents and people who are regular consumers of ‘high energy’ drinks such as V, RED BULL, MOTHER, GATORADE, LUCOZADE & MANY MORE
the elderly who have reduced salivary flow and people on selected medications that gives them Xerostomia (or dry mouth)
Some regimes we can suggest for early damage are;
1) USE A FLUORIDE MOUTHWASH TO TRY AND RE-HARDEN DAMAGED AREAS
2) RINSE MOUTH WITH WATER AFTER ACID ATTACKS
3) REFRAIN FROM BRUSHING FOR 30 MINS AFTER ACID ATTACK SO THE PROTECTIVE LAYER CAN REBUILD
4) DRINK MORE WATER – PARTICULARLY BETWEEN MAIN MEALS WHERE SALIVA FLOW IS REDUCED
5) LIMIT FREQUENCY OF ACID ATTACKS TO A MAIN MEAL WHERE MUCH MORE SALIVA IS PRODUCED FOR PROTECTION
6) CONSUME DRINKS THROUGH A STRAW
7) USE PROFESSIONALLY PRESCRIBED TOOTHPASTES TO RE-MINERALISE ENAMEL.
Dental Erosion is a very common problem amongst the community. People who live both healthy and unhealthy lifestyles are all at risk. As always early detection is the key!