How to Prevent and Treat Dental Erosion

Ad Min - Friday, July 31, 2020

What Is Dental Erosion?

Dental erosion is the wearing away of dental tissues, with the loss of the surface of the teeth due to the acids, not bacteria. This may be caused by acids produced in the body which affects the teeth due to reflux or vomiting, and with acids contained in the drinks like carbonated drinks and sports drinks.

Acids can melt and soften the crystals that make up our teeth and make them susceptible to be worn away with abrasion. This is also called acid wear.

Dental erosion is a serious condition for dental problems where dental hard tissues are lost due to acids which are produced inside or come from outside, called intrinsic or extrinsic reasons.

Not many studies have been carried out yet, to know the exact figures for prevalence of this condition but it is estimated that it is common all over the world, among adults and children.

Symptoms of Dental Erosion

When the surface of tooth gets eroded, it makes the tooth sensitive to cold and hot food and even when the atmosphere gets too cold o, the teeth can be sensitive to outside temperature and may cause discomfort.

In advanced condition of dental erosion, the enamel gets worn away and dentine gets exposed, showing yellow marks on the tooth surface. If a tooth decay has been treated and the tooth has a filling, this filling gets exposed due to dental erosion of the same tooth.

The cause of acids eating away or eroding the tooth material can be intrinsic or extrinsic.

Intrinsic causes of dental erosion

One of the functions of saliva which is produced in the mouth is to protect the teeth and mouth from the acidic attack that occurs in the normal course of day. Gastric juices are produced to digest the foods ingested by individuals. When these juices pass through oral canal very frequently in the form of reflux or vomiting, the saliva is unable to protect the teeth from these acids in the gastric juice. The juices get passed from the buffering system of saliva and star corroding the teeth. There are a number of ailments that causes gastric acids to reach teeth and damage them.

Gastro oesophageal reflux is one condition where stomach acids are regurgitated following heavy meals after overeating. If this happens occasionally, the saliva can take care of it. But if when gastric acids enter oral cavity during sleep, the saliva is not enough to control acidic activity on teeth and corrosion takes place, because in sleeping state, the lower molars are in in constant touch with acids. Obesity or pregnancy brings on pressure on abdomen which increases reflux activity in individuals.

Bulimia is another condition where individual opts to vomit the food taken to keep a desired weight. This ailment is common among females of 18 to 35 years of age. In this group of people who are suffering from bulimia, the dental erosion is found to be 90 percent. In bulimic people the front teeth get eroded first because gastric juices are forced through front teeth.

In chronic alcoholism the dental erosion occurs because of frequent vomiting and regurgitation. Front as well as back teeth are affected by chronic alcoholism.

Because of the weight of the foetus, the intra-abdominal pressure increases resulting in frequent reflux. But since this is not chronic, it does not result in serious erosion.

Extrinsic causes of dental erosion

These causes result from the lifestyle of individuals, and environmental or occupational factors that expose teeth to acids.

Acidic beverages are the most common outside reason for teeth erosion in US and many other developed countries. Sports drinks, fruit juices and aerated drinks have very low pH value which makes it a high-risk factor for dental erosion. A major chunk of dietary acids come from soft drinks which are very commonly consumed at meal times and between meals.

Individuals who work out a lot, get dehydrated and their saliva production is less than required. In such a case, the risk of erosion of teeth gets doubled.

Industrial or occupational risk
In an industry where airborne acidic particles are more, the factory workers are at an increased risk of getting teeth erosion. In swimming pools, where pH level is low, the workers get more erosion of teeth than normal.

Prevention of dental erosion

The most important factor that can be controlled by individual is lifestyle and dietary changes.

Dental erosion is irreversible so what dental health professionals can do at the most is to halt the process of erosion.

Milk and milk products have been found to protect teeth against erosion. Milk has phosphate and calcium content which helps in containing acids from eroding dental tissues. Fluoride treatment also helps in contain the process of erosion of teeth.

General guidelines for people with dental erosion

  • Avoid acidic beverages and holding them in mouth for long, so as not to bathe the teeth in the beverage.
  • Drink water and rinse mouth with water after having any drink.
  • Rinse mouth with soda bicarbonate after vomiting
  • Chewing gum increases saliva. Saliva helps in stopping acidic juices to work on teeth, by allowing you to swallow saliva while chewing along with acids in the mouth
  • Drink milk along with acidic meals and drinks to neutralize the acid in the drink.
  • Drink one glass of water before breakfast.
  • Avoid having drinks between meals.
  • Drink fruit juices with straw to avoid the teeth coming in contact with acids in the drink.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Acids make teeth softened so wait for an hour before brushing your teeth after and acidic or a heavy meal to stop erosion with toothbrush.
  • Even after vomiting wait for an hour before brushing your teeth.
  • Use tooth mousse before consuming acidic drink.
  • Fluoride toothpaste helps in strengthening teeth.
  • Seek medical advice for the ailments like bulimia and gastro intestinal disorder to stop erosion of teeth.

Regular visits to dentists will help in diagnosing and preventing dental erosion.

Which dental filling is suited for you?

Ad Min - Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Research has shown that cavities are seen in children and adults alike, untreated tooth decay leads the list in oral diseases round the globe. 60-90% of children and almost 95% or more of adults have tooth decay. Decay is seen in primary teeth as well as permanent teeth. Tooth decay often starts as cavities when the outer enamel gets eroded.

Food consumed stays in the mouth and teeth and they bring about bacterial action. Sugary food and drinks contribute to this more than other types of food. The sugar when acted on by the bacteria releases acid which removes the protective cover of the teeth. Weaker areas in the teeth then will see cavity formation in them.

Dental procedures are done to preserve the teeth. Extraction of teeth is done only when the decay is extensive and the teeth cannot be saved anymore. In the procedure, the dentist will remove the upper portion of the teeth. Through this opening they will clean out all the decay that is there in the inner pulp cavity of the teeth. Thorough cleaning of the interior of the teeth is done to remove the decayed portion. This area is then filled with dental fillings and the hardened using a special light to harden the filling. The teeth are saved from further damage and can function as before.

A wide variety of fillings are available to choose from. Materials are chosen depending on the oral health, the position of the teeth, the extent of decay and also the cost. Dentists will conduct an oral examination to determine which type of filling will be suited.

Gold fillings

Metal fillings are commonly used due to their durable nature. Gold fillings have been used by many, they easily last up to 10 plus years or more. They do not corrode and as they are sturdy they can withstand the strength of the chewing. It is expensive because of the metal used. It might require a few visits to the dentist. Some prefer this filling due to the metal used in the procedure.

Silver fillings

Another type of metal amalgam filling that is commonly used is silver fillings. Many prefer this type of filling, as they do not like the gold coloured filling. As a metal filling similar to gold, this can also withstand strength and is durable and often lasts longer than other types of fillings. When silver is chosen as the filling, dentists will need to remove healthy portions of the teeth to make space to hold this metal. Some experience a differ colour to the neighbouring teeth due to this silver amalgam filling. As it does not go along with the natural colour of the teeth, some reject it due to anaesthetics. It does not however cost as much as gold amalgam fillings.

Composite fillings

Tooth coloured fillings that is the advantage of having composite fillings. They match the colour of the natural teeth and are usually preferred when filling is to be done to the front or visible part of the teeth. They bond well to the teeth structure when applied and are cured using light to stay hardened on the teeth. They cost more than amalgam fillings. They are also less durable than other fillings as they are not made of sturdy materials like metal fillings. As they are less durable, they might need to be replaced. Extensive force or pressure on the teeth can lead to chipping off the composite filling.

Glass ionomer fillings

These types of fillings are usually recommended for children who still have teeth to fall off. The reasons are varied – this dental filling has a short life span, less than five years or so. Children have milk teeth falling off and permanent teeth taking the place, some they can use fillings that have a short life span. Besides this, another feature is fluoride. This filling produces fluoride another the cavity, thus offering extra protection to the teeth. Fluoride helps to fight away infection as well. That is one of the biggest advantages of using glass ionomer filling especially for children. This is applied as a tight paste on the cavity and offers protection from the outer environment. Teeth are sealed off from further decay due to this filling. When compared with composite filling this is less sturdy and also is not the exact colour of the natural teeth.

Ceramic fillings

Ceramic dental fillings are the most expensive of the different type of fillings. The main reason is the aesthetic value it provides and they are also long lasting. Compared with other fillings, ceramic filling offers high abrasive quality and also resists staining besides being similar in colour to natural teeth. It does not need to be replaced as composite filling as they are stronger, but that does not rule out them being brittle. Ceramic dental restorations are generally called Inlays and Onlays depending on where they are used. On the teeth as a protective layer or in between the teeth to cover the gap between the teeth.

Caring for dental fillings will help to make sure they last long. Brushing and cleaning of teeth should be done as before. This helps to make sure food debris does not stay on the tooth surface.

Reducing sugary food, opting for healthier options of food can help keep the teeth and filling safer for a longer time. Besides this, reducing food or products like tobacco that stain teeth can also help promote longer lasting teeth.

When consuming hot or cold food if teeth sensitivity is felt, it can be a chance of crack in the filling. It is highly recommended that this concern is checked with the dentist. Sometimes while eating, one can feel a roughness on the teeth – this can also be another sign that there is a crack or break in the tooth filling. When unsure, do not ignore the symptom check it with the dentist as soon as possible.

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