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Dental Dental erosion

Dental erosion

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What’s tooth (dental) erosion?

Your teeth have a hard protective coating called enamel. This hard outer layer plays an important role in protecting the inner layers of your teeth, including the nerve. Tooth erosion occurs when acid attacks the enamel coating of the tooth and slowly dissolves it. It’s very important to protect tooth enamel because it can’t naturally grow back.

What causes tooth erosion?

Too much acid in certain food and drink can dissolve and wear away your tooth enamel. Acids are often hidden in:

  • Soft drinks – diet and regular
  • Sports drinks
  • Fruit juices and cordials
  • Citrus fruits
  • Chewable Vitamin C tablets
  • Red and white wine
  • Vinegars

Signs and symptoms

When the enamel begins wearing away, you may experience:

  • Tooth sensitivity to certain sweet foods and hot or cold temperatures.
  • The bottom edges of your teeth start looking transparent.
  • Appearance of cracks and chips.
  • The edges of your teeth become rough and ragged.

Strengthening your enamel

Simple changes to your diet can help prevent or manage erosion:

  • Drink more water.
  • Limit your intake of acidic foods and drinks to main meals.
  • Only drink soft drinks, cordials and fruit drinks on occasion and through a straw.
  • After acidic foods and drinks, rinse your mouth with water or chew sugar-free gum.
  • Brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and a soft toothbrush.

Vomiting, reflux and dental care

Vomiting and reflux can cause gastric juices to enter your mouth. These juices contain strong acids that damage your tooth enamel and exposed root surface. To prevent erosion our dentists recommend you:

  1. Rinse your mouth with water to wash away any acid.
  2. Rub a little bit of toothpaste on your teeth – this will help freshen your mouth and toughen your teeth.
  3. Wait at least 30 minute before brushing – this will allow the enamel to recover.

More for members

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*Independently conducted research by New Focus Research, November 2016.