Understanding Tooth Enamel Erosion

on November 20, 2013

Tooth enamel is the thin layer that covers the portion of your tooth that is above the gum line. Although it is the hardest tissue in your body, it is still susceptible to different forms of wear. One such form of wear is erosion.


The most common cause of enamel erosion is acid wear. Not only do acidic foods contribute to acid wear, sugary foods do as well. As the bacteria in your mouth consume sugars they produce acids which lower the pH in your mouth. Other sources of acid wear include gastrointestinal problems, acid reflux disease, dry mouth and some medications.

Enamel erosion may also be due to wear on your teeth. Often this type of erosion is due to grinding or clenching at night. Enamel erosion due to wear is often seen on the biting surface of your teeth. It may result in your teeth looking small and flattened.


There are some simple steps you can take to prevent enamel erosion.. The simplest steps you can take include cutting highly acidic and sugary foods out of your diet. The number one thing you can cut out to help your teeth is soda pop. Not only is it acidic, but it also contains lots of sugar which the bacteria in your mouth convert to acid as well. Alternatively, using a straw may help limit the exposure of your teeth to acidic beverages.Additionally, avoid brushing your teeth immediately after eating acidic foods. The pH in your mouth is low after eating due to the bacteria in your mouth producing acids. Brushing your teeth prior to the pH returning to normal may cause additional erosion as your enamel is softer when in this acidic environment. Instead, wait about a half hour after eating to brush your teeth. This allows your saliva to work to increase the pH and return your mouth to neutral pH.To prevent against erosion due to wear, our Evanston dentists recommend a nightguard. This appliance is worn at night and helps protect teeth against grinding and clenching.

Treatment Options

The treatment for enamel erosion depends on the severity of the erosion. For minimal enamel erosion the treatment involves placing tooth colored bonding over the area that has been eroded. This can be done in a short session and usually without any anesthetic. If there is more erosion, then there are several different options ranging from veneers to crowns to help restore your natural smile.

Once we have restored your smile, the best investment that you can make is a nightguard to help protect your smile. The resin that the dentists use to repair your teeth is strong, but not as strong as your natural enamel. For this reason, our Evanston dentists recommend a nightguard to ensure that your restorations last as long as possible.

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