Erosive Tooth Wear: Diagnosis, Risk Factors and Prevention
Erosive tooth wear refers to an irreversible loss of dental hard tissue—a result of a chemical process that doesn’t involve bacteria. It most often affects the front teeth and the biting surfaces of the back teeth.
About 30 percent of adults experience erosive tooth wear. It can lead to the loss of part or all the tooth enamel (the outer layer of the tooth), exposing the inner dentin layer, which is yellow. If diagnosed early, this condition can be managed with preventive interventions and minimally invasive treatment procedures.
Erosive Tooth Wear Diagnosis
Dental professionals use the Basic Erosive Wear Examination (BEWE), which is a simple screening tool for detecting erosive tooth wear. Here are some common signs of erosive tooth wear:
- Yellowing of teeth
- Thinning and translucency
- Smoothing of teeth surfaces
- Loss of dental structural features
Erosive Tooth Wear Risk Factors
The primary cause of erosive tooth wear is excessive consumption of acidic beverages and food. The acid eats away the tooth enamel over time. Other factors that increase the risk of erosive tooth wear include:
Some medications lead to a decreased production of saliva. It is essential for maintaining healthy teeth because it contains substances that rebuild the enamel.
Vomiting and acid reflux
If you usually experience acid reflux issues, you will be more susceptible to erosive tooth wear thanks to stomach acid. Frequent vomiting may also cause stomach acid damage to your teeth. If you have any of these problems, don’t hesitate to seek medical help.
As you age, you become more vulnerable to erosive acids. It’s important to protect your teeth from erosion as early as possible, so it doesn’t deteriorate with old age.
Erosive Tooth Wear Prevention
Here are some tips to minimize your risk for erosive tooth wear:
- Use fluoride-based products, such as toothbrushes and mouthwash. It will strengthen your teeth.
- Use calcium-based products, as they restore and “re-mineralize” damaged tooth surfaces.
- Use erosion-formulated products that help minimize the risk of erosive tooth wear.
- Maintain a healthy diet and limit your consumption of acidic food and drinks. Also, avoid brushing your teeth after consuming acidic food or drinks—instead, wash it down with water.
- Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups.