Tooth Decay (Enamel Erosion & Deterioration)



`What enamel inside the Tooth?
Enamel is the thin external cover of the tooth. This hardened shell is the strongest tissue in the human body. Enamel shields the crown which is the portion of the tooth that’s evident outside of the gums.

Since enamel is translucent, you’d notice light gleaming through it. But the central part of the tooth, the dentin, is the element that gives your tooth color — whether white, grey, yellowish or off-white.

Occasionally coffee, cola, tea, red wine, cigarettes and even fruit juices stain the enamel on your teeth. Routine appointments to your dentist for regular cleaning and polishing can help maintain the enamel color and remove most exterior stains and make sure your teeth remain healthy.

What functions does tooth enamel have?
Enamel aids to protect your teeth from everyday use such as crunching, grinding, chewing, and biting. However, enamel is a hard sheild for your teeth; it can crack and chip. Enamel also protects the teeth from probably painful substances and temperatures.

Unlike a fractured or broken bone that can be restored by the body, once a tooth bricks or chips, the harm is created forever. Since enamel has no living cells, the body is unable to repair cracked or fractured enamel.

What produces enamel erosion?

  • Tooth erosion happens when acids waste away the enamel covering teeth. Corrosion in the enamel can be triggered by the following:
  • Excessive consumption of sugary and acidic soft drink consumption (high phosphoric and citric acids content)
  • Dry mouth or low salivary flow (xerostomia)
  • Fruit juices or drinks (a little-known fact that some acids in fruit drinks are more erosive than battery acid)
  • Diet (high in starches and sugars)
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Acid reflux disease (GERD)
  • Genetics (inherited conditions)
  • Medications (aspirin, antihistamines)
  • Environmental factors (grinding, fatigues, and corrosion)

What are the environmental contributions of tooth surface erosion?
Friction, stress, usage fatigue stress, and corrosion (or any mixture of these actions) can produce erosion of the tooth surface. More clinical expressions applied to define these mechanisms include:

  • Attrition. This is natural tooth-to-tooth friction that happens when you clench or grind your teeth such as with bruxism, which often occurs involuntarily during sleep.
  • Abrasion. This is physical weardown of the tooth surface that results with brushing teeth too hard, biting, incorrect flossing, on hard objects (such as fingernails, bottle caps, or pens), or chewing tobacco.
  • Abfraction. This occurs from stress fractures in the tooth such as cracks from flexing or bending of the tooth.
  • Corrosion. This occurs chemically when acidic content hits the tooth surface such as with certain medications like aspirin or vitamin C tablets, highly acidic foods, GERD, and frequent vomiting from bulimia or alcoholism.
  • More research show bulimia as a trigger of tooth decay and enamel erosion. Bulimia is an eating disorder that’s linked with binge eating and vomiting, an origin of acid. Frequent vomiting erodes tooth enamel and can produce cavities.

Saliva exhibits a key role in maintaining healthy teeth and strong. Not only does saliva enhance the health of the body tissues, but it also shields enamel by coating the teeth in protective calcium and other minerals. Saliva also dilutes erosive agents such as acid, eliminates waste material from the mouth, and boosts guarding substances that assist in fighting mouth bacteria and disease.

In a healthy mouth, calcium-rich saliva helps strengthen teeth, even if you drink an acidic soda or juice. When you go ingest a lot of acidic foods and beverages, this strengthening system on the teeth no longer occurs.

Does plaque trigger enamel erosion?
Plaque is a glutinous film made up of saliva, bacteria, food particles, and other substances. Plaque forms between your teeth and gets within tiny holes or pits in the molars. It also gets around your cavity fillings and next to the gum line where the teeth and gums meet.



Sometimes the bacteria in plaque switches food starches into acids. When this happens, the acids in plaque start to eat away at the healthy minerals in the tooth enamel. This produces the enamel to wear down and become pitted. Over time, the pits in the enamel increase and grow in size.

What are the signs of enamel erosion?
The signs of enamel erosion can vary, depending on the stage. Some symptoms may include:

  • Sensitivity. Certain foods (sweets) and warmth of foods (hot or cold) may induce a twinge of pain in the early stage of enamel erosion.
  • Discoloration. As the enamel disintegrates and more dentin is exposed, the teeth may appear yellow.
  • Cracks and chips. The edges of teeth become more rough, irregular, and jagged as enamel erodes.
  • Severe, painful irritation. In later stages of enamel erosion, teeth grow extremely sensitive to sweets and temperatures. You may feel a painful shock that shocks.
  • Cupping. Indentations appear on the surface of the teeth.
    When enamel erodes, the tooth is more susceptive to cavities or tooth decay. When the tooth decay penetrates the hard enamel, it has entry to the main body of the tooth.

Small cavities may produce no problems at first. But as cavities expand furthermore penetrate the tooth, they can affect the tiny nerve fibers, resulting in an extremely painful abscess or infection.

How do you prevent enamel loss?
To prevent enamel loss and keep teeth healthy, be sure to brush, floss, and rinse with fluoride and antiseptic mouthwash daily. Consult your dentist every six months for routine cleaning and checkups. You can also try the following:

  • Stop eating highly acidic foods and drinks and remove items like lemons, carbonated sodas, and other citrus fruits and juices from your diet. Rinse your mouth immediately with clear water after consuming acidic drinking drinks or acidic foods
  • Use a straw when you have acidic beverages. The straw forces the liquid to the back of your mouth, avoiding your teeth.
  • Monitor snacks. Snacking throughout the day increases the opportunity of tooth decay. The mouth is acidic for a several hours after ingesting foods high in sugar and starches. Avoid snacking unless you’re able to rinse your mouth and brush teeth.
  • Chew sugar-free gum between meals. Chewing gum boosts saliva production up to 10 times the normal flow. Saliva helps strengthen teeth with essential minerals. Be sure to choose sugar-free gum with xylitol, which is proved to lessen acids in foods and beverages.
  • If you have Iflow saliva volume or dry mouth, drink more water throughout the day.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride increases teeth, so make sure fluoride is listed as an ingredient in your toothpaste.
  • Ask your dentist if sealants may be beneficial in preventing enamel erosion and tooth decay.

Can you get too much fluoride?

  • Yes, it is probable to get too much fluoride. While fluoride is beneficial in stopping tooth decay, too much fluoride can trigger difficulties like enamel fluorosis. This condition can transpire in children and causes defects in the enamel of the teeth.

Young ones with enamel fluorosis may have ingested too much fluoride through supplements, or they took fluoride supplements in addition to consuming fluoridated water. Also, swallowing fluoride toothpaste raises the chances of enamel fluorosis.

Most children and adolescents with enamel fluorosis have moderate conditions that are not a cause for concern. In some severe cases, the teeth are, pitted, discolored, and challenging to keep clean.

How is tooth enamel loss treated?
Treatment of tooth enamel deterioration is based on the problem. Sometimes tooth bonding is used to guard the tooth and further cosmetic appearance.
If the enamel loss is notable, the dentist may suggest treating the tooth with a veneer or crown. The crown may preserve the tooth from further decay.

Health Life Media Team