Highland Park, MN General Dentist Explains Causes of Dental Erosion

Written by Drs. Mark and Rachel Malterud on May 7, 2013

Dental erosion of tooth enamel has become a significant concern for many people and is a problem that particularly affects children and teenagers. Unfortunately, the Highland Park, MN General Dentist sees many cases where the damage has already progressed to the point where it cannot be corrected. This is an important point to be aware of because once dental enamel is lost due to erosion, it cannot be replaced.

What causes dental erosion?

The enamel that protects the inner portion of our teeth is constantly being subject to damage from acidic food and drinks. Young children and adolescents are particularly prone to this problem since they tend to consume a lot of fruit juices and other acidic beverages like “energy” drinks. Drinks like orange and apple juice are healthy for the body, but they actually contain high levels of acid that affect tooth enamel. Other drinks that cause dental erosion are carbonated cola drinks and wine.
What are the symptoms of dental erosion?

There are a number of signs that your teeth may already be affected from dental erosion. Some signs to be aware of are:

  • Yellowing of teeth:  Acid in the food and drink we consume wears away healthy enamel, making the underlying yellowish dentin becomes more noticeable.
  • Increased sensitivity:  Healthy dental enamel is a very hard substance that serves as protection for the underlying tooth structure. As enamel wears away, you may experience a sensation of increased sensitivity to hot and cold foods or when visiting the dentist.
  • Changes in the shape of your teeth: Since the acid in certain foods and drinks literally destroys healthy tooth enamel, the shape of your teeth can appear to change or gaps may start to form between teeth.
  • Dental fillings become more noticeable: Since dental fillings are fashioned from man-made materials, they will not be impacted to the same extent as dental enamel. This causes fillings to become more noticeable as surrounding dental enamel deteriorates.
We cannot stress this enough: once healthy dental enamel is lost, it’s lost for good. You may halt the progress of dental erosion, but you cannot reverse its effects. If you are concerned about the appearance of your teeth or would like to know about the preventative steps you can take to minimize dental erosion, contact the Highland Park, MN General Dentist. We will discuss the best ways for you to preserve healthy tooth enamel and cosmetically correct teeth that may already be damaged.