Dental erosion is the loss of tooth enamel and other tooth structure from frequent exposure to strong acids. The most common causes are:
- Acid drinks and foods
- Some medications
- Stomach acid that regurgitates into the mouth.
Common acid sources and risk factors
- Frequent intake of acidic foods and drinks such as carbonated soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, red and white wine, fruit juices, cordials, citrus fruit, vinegar based foods such as salad dressings and pickled foods.
- Acidic medications such as chewable vitamin C, some cough syrups, and some antiseptic mouth washes also some Asthma drugs.
- Dry mouth, which can be caused by various factors, including smoking, medical treatments – such as blood pressure, mood altering drugs and chemotherapy.
- Chronic dehydration
Care for your teeth
- Immediately after consuming an acidic food or drink, rinse your mouth with water.
- Drink more tap water throughout the day, especially between meals.
- Drink acidic drinks through a straw.
- Delay tooth brushing for at least 30 minutes after acid exposure to allow saliva to help stabilize the mouth.
- Brush teeth at least twice daily using a soft toothbrush and a non-abrasive fluoridated toothpaste.
The key to erosion is catching the issue early before it causes extensive damage to your teeth. Identifying what is causing the teeth to erode away and whether there are other things making it worse e.g. heavy brushing or teeth grinding.
If your erosion is fairly mild, it may only require a preventative regime and regular dental visits to monitor the erosion.
As erosion progresses, it may be necessary to restore or fill up the teeth to replace the tooth structure that has been eroded away. In some cases where a lot of tooth structure has been eroded away, we may need to rebuild the whole mouth with caps or crowns.
If you are concerned that you may have dental erosion, it is best to speak to your dental professional for further advice.