Teeth have strong structures, including surfaces that can endure corrosive acids present in foods and other unhealthy substances like sugar. The teeth also withstand injuries and other damages, which increases the chances of the enamel wearing off quickly. You may not notice enamel erosion until it becomes too progressive unless you understand the causes and symptoms to watch out for. Find out more below, including how to fix teeth without enamel, from our dentist Bolton.
What is Enamel?
The enamel is one of the dental components – the outer layer of teeth that protects against damage. It is thin and translucent, but the dentin underneath has the colour that determines the appearance you see, whether white, yellow, or brownish. Its toughness is similar to bones. Despite that, enamel can become stained by coffee, tea, red wine, or tobacco.
What is Enamel Damage?
As the first line of defense, the enamel can erode with time, resulting in increased sensitivity and staining. Chewing, grinding, and biting also add strain to the enamel, increasing the chances of cracking or chipping. Injuries can also damage the enamel, exposing the inner sections of the tooth and heightening the possibility of decay.
Enamel erosion is more likely to happen when you neglect proper oral care practices. The harmful residue that lingers on your teeth after a meal or drink can feed bacteria that reduce the effectiveness of the enamel. Other habits like clenching teeth are not advisable as they also lay the foundation for such erosion. Once the outer layer weakens, the inner components become easily damageable.
Causes of Enamel Loss
Understanding the causes of damage is the first step to knowing how to fix worn enamel on teeth. The acid in food is the prime cause of enamel loss, which is why drinking lots of water is advisable. Saliva neutralizes the acids, reducing the chances of enamel eradication. Limiting acidic ingredients in food is also recommended, as well as brushing correctly.
Causes of enamel degradation can be:
What you ingest
- Consumption of lots of acidic fluids, especially phosphoric or citric drinks with high sugar content: The bacteria in your mouth thrive on sugar, and the additional ingredients do not help the situation. Brushing can reduce the possibility of erosion, but limiting such intake is better.
- Corrosive fruity drinks: Sour foods and candy can also be detrimental.
- Candies and sweet products like ice cream, caramel, or syrups: Consumption of starches, such as white bread, or ingesting excess vitamin C found in citrus foods.
Having low saliva quantity or a dry mouth is also a factor. The condition is known as xerostomia. Saliva dilutes the acid in foods, washes away bacteria, and removes leftover foods in the mouth.
Wear and tear that happens with time, stress, or friction can also cause the outer tooth layer to degrade. Some clinical terms you may come across for such occurrences are:
Abrasion – comes from brushing too hard, biting on objects like pens, or flossing improperly. The physical layer will naturally wear and tear over time. Smoking can also cause abrasion.
Corrosion – takes place when acid meets the tooth surface. Some medications, like vitamin C supplements or aspirin, can cause such wearing off.
Attrition – if you grind your teeth involuntarily or otherwise, you may experience the tear. Most people who experience bruxism tend to have enamel loss despite the inability to control the grinding or clenching.
Abfraction – the condition can happen after an accident involving impact that causes fractures or cracks on the teeth.
Too much drinking or alcohol abuse, smoking cigarettes or other tobacco products, and regular use of antihistamines are causative factors.
Inherited conditions, gastrointestinal issues, and eating disorders that disrupt the digestive process and acid levels in the mouth can also cause your teeth to erode. Acid reflux from gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, can also be problematic because it increases the amount of acid that reaches the mouth.
Note: bulimia is excessive eating and vomiting. It is a source of extra acid – the main reason for losing enamel on front teeth. The more that happens, the higher the chances of erosion and cavities. Taking acidic beverages in moderation may not be problematic. A healthy mouth consists of calcium-filled saliva that enhances enamel strength, making it more resistant to acids in minimal quantities.
What happens when you lose enamel?
Some signs that tooth enamel is gone are:
Cracks or chips: Teeth edges may become jagged or rough as the enamel disintegrates. You may also experience cupping, which refers to the formation of indentations on the teeth surface, especially surfaces you use to bite or chew regularly.
Heightened sensitivity: If you notice a difference in how you react to taste, textures, or temperature, you may need an assessment to determine if you have enamel erosion. Sensitivity often showcases a sudden flash of pain whenever you take cold items like ice cream, sweets, or hot beverages. The sensitivity may become more severe with time, causing intense pain whenever you take hot or cold foods.
Staining: Enamel loss exposes dentin, which becomes discoloured when you take some meals or beverages like coffee. That is how you get yellow teeth due to enamel loss. The teeth’ surface could also become shinier and smoother.
The more erosion takes place, the higher the chances of decay. Compromised enamel cannot shield off bacteria, and once the organisms penetrate the inner parts of the tooth, the damage can spread quickly. Cavities may also appear, getting worse with time without any intervention. The damage can reach the nerves to cause intense pain from infection and sometimes abscess.
How do you fix thin enamel on front teeth?
Enamel repair or the treatment technique depends on the extent of the damage – your dentist will evaluate the situation and recommend the most effective solution. Some dentists use a bonding procedure, which involves the application of resin on the damaged tooth to cover the discolourations. The compound also serves as a protective layer but is most useful where erosion has caused stains. Bonding is good for improving aesthetic appearance. Other dentists use veneer or dental crowns, especially for advanced cases. The solution prevents further damage.
How to restore tooth enamel naturally
Practicing good dental hygiene can keep your oral health and prevent erosion from worsening if it has already started. That brings forth the question, can tooth enamel be restored once lost? Unfortunately, no. Complete restoration is not possible. You can consult your dentist for solutions that improve the cosmetic aspects and reduce the progression of the loss, but you cannot bring back the original enamel layer.
How to prevent enamel erosion
Despite the toughness of the enamel, you cannot restore it to its perfect state after erosion begins. That means the only way to fix enamel erosion is by preventing it from occurring in the first place. You must understand the causes and avoid them.
First, maintain the best dental practices like brushing, flossing, and rinsing the mouth properly at least twice, if not between meals. Use fluoride and antiseptic mouthwash and go for regular dental checkups – at least twice annually.
Additional measures to practice include:
- Drink lots of water during the day to prevent dry mouth.
- Use a straw when taking acidic drinks. The straw minimizes the amount of liquid that hits the teeth by pushing it to the back of the mouth.
- Reduce snacking frequency. Acid levels in the mouth rise after you eat sugary or starchy foods, meaning snacking increases the enamel loss risk levels. You can snack when you are sure you will brush after you finish.
- Enhance saliva production by chewing sugar-free gum before having meals. Saliva will neutralize the acids in food and boost the teeth with minerals that strengthen them. It gets better when you chew gum with xylitol.
- Eliminate acidic foods from the diet. Avoid citrus juices, fruits, and carbonated drinks. You can take acidic fluids with your meal to reduce the impact on enamel. Choosing low-acid foods and drinking lots of water after partaking in anything acidic also helps.
- Take calcium after meals to neutralize the acids – a glass of milk or cheese can do.
- Use fluoride toothpaste to brush to boost enamel strength. You should also invest in a soft toothbrush that will not harm your teeth. Wait for at least an hour before brushing softly after taking acidic meals. Doing so sooner increases susceptibility to damage.
Discuss your situation with a dentist and ask for appropriate prevention recommendations. Disclose if you already have deteriorating enamel to get the best assistance.
How do you heal enamel loss?
Enamel replacement is impossible. Other than trying the enamel decay treatment measures mentioned above for healing, you can try the remineralization process to replace the lost minerals that make the teeth strong. That is why using fluoride toothpaste is essential; it forms a shield that protects against damaging substances. You can also involve calcium-rich foods in your diet as you explore other solutions with your dentist.
What is the impact of lost enamel?
Without enamel loss repair or prevention, the inner parts of the teeth become exposed to all the destructive components, increasing sensitivity and pain. Additionally, decay, infections, and gum disease become more common. That is why some experts suggest using artificial teeth when determining how to fix enamel loss on teeth, especially in advanced cases.
Is there such a thing as too much fluoride?
Yes. the correct amount of fluoride can prevent decay, but too much can create fluorosis. The condition mainly affects children, causing defects in the enamel. Too much fluoride can come from drinking fluorinated water, swallowing toothpaste, or taking fluoride supplements. The condition does not cause harm when mild, but the severity can result in discolouration, cleaning difficulties, or pitted teeth.
A reliable dentist is vital whether you already have enamel loss or not. Professional input and experience are essential in finding customized solutions that fit your condition uniquely. Smiles On Queen has the best specialists. Get in touch.