Tooth decay is one of the first things discussed when we talk about dental health. However, other problems can also develop with your teeth. One of these is tooth erosion. Tooth decay and tooth erosion are similar problems, but tooth erosion can cause more extensive damage.
How is Tooth Erosion Different from Tooth Decay?
Tooth erosion occurs when the teeth
are exposed to acidic substances on a regular basis. The acid breaks down the enamel and, if left untreated, can even erode the teeth into the dentin, which is the substance beneath the enamel. This loss of enamel or dentin is irreversible.
Tooth erosion is a common dental problem among young children, because they often drink large quantities of highly acidic beverages. This includes soda, which is obviously not good for the teeth because of its high sugar content, but can also include fruit juices. Children who drink fruit juice often and do not drink water, and especially children who drink fruit juices from a baby bottle, often suffer from tooth erosion. Preventive dentistry, such as regular brushing and professional cleaning, can help prevent erosion.
Tooth decay also occurs because of acid, but the acid that causes tooth decay is a byproduct of bacteria that naturally live in the mouth. When these bacteria eat sugars and food particles that are left behind after you eat, they create a sticky, acidic substance that clings to the teeth. This buildup eats through the enamel, as well, but in small areas rather than affecting all the teeth at once.
Symptoms of Tooth Erosion
Symptoms of tooth erosion can be minor or more extreme. Symptoms include:
• Teeth become yellow as dentin is exposed
• Teeth become misshapen due to erosion
• Gaps between the teeth become wider
• Sensitivity develops
• Teeth become pitted or cracked
If you notice any of these symptoms or suspect erosion is affecting your teeth or those of your child, contact the office of Dr. Nicholas Kemp at 416-922-1012 right away to find out the best course of treatment.