Dental erosion or sometimes called acid erosion is the loss of the surface of teeth. It is identified as the irreversible loss of tooth structure due to chemical dissolution by acids without any involvement of bacteria Dental erosion is the most common oral disease of children ages 5-17. The critical pH of dental enamel is estimated at 5.5 and normally is kept in balance by saliva. The saliva contains buffers to neutralize acids and also contributes phosphate and calcium ions to aid in remineralization.
Causes of Dental Erosion
Dental erosion results from the introduction of gastric acids into the oral cavity. As the frequency of these acids increase and overcome the buffering ability of the saliva, the acids start damaging the surface of the teeth. Dental erosion can be caused by several things even by the things in your stomach. Some of the main reasons for dental erosion are given below.
The regurgitation of stomach acids after meals and especially after overeating is considered normal. The salivation and swallowing are reduced during the sleep time and that is when these gastric acids are most harmful.
According to a study, 49.4% of the alcoholics were found to show signs of erosion. Alcoholism with a prevalence of around 10% can result in dental erosion due to frequent vomiting and increased regurgitation.
Bulimia is an eating disorder which results in intentional vomiting as a means to maintain the desired weight. It is more common in western industrialized nations with a prevalence of approximately 5% in 18-35 years old females. Dental erosion is reported in the 90% of the people suffering from bulimia disorder.
The intra-abdominal pressure increases during the pregnancy which results in an increase in reflux. Dental erosion in pregnant women is rare unless the vomiting is chronic.
Most of the soft drinks and fruit juices have low pH level and any beverage with a low pH volume is a risk for erosion. A number of latest studies indicate that dietary acids are a major contributor to dental erosion. Soft drinks double the risk of erosion.
Industrial and Occupational Risks
Airborne industrial acids and chemicals have been implicated in dental erosion among the factory workers, particularly in fertilizer or battery plants. Swimmers have also reported erosion due to low pH of swimming water.
Prevention and Reduction
Dental erosion is irreversible. Once it has ruined your teeth, they are ruined forever unless you get synthetic ones. The more focus here should be on preventing and reducing dental erosion. A lot of studies shows that milk and yoghurt help in the prevention of erosion. Flouride may contribute to demineralize the tooth enamel. Dental erosion can damage your teeth permanently and this damage is not reversible. So, be careful with all the low pH beverages and acids. If you see any sign on erosion please contact the author of this post at Thordent.
All articles are either written by, or content checked by an ex-General Dental Council (retired) registrant. Information in these articles should not be taken as dental advice and are for general information only, you should always seek advice of your local dentist, if you do not have a local dentist you might like to search our register.