Enamel is the outermost translucent layer of the tooth and also the hardest body tissue. The loss of tooth enamel may occur due to a variety of reasons, which can affect the health and longevity of the tooth. Tooth enamel is important for the protection of teeth from extreme temperatures, insulation from chemicals and physical factors like biting and grinding of teeth. Since tooth enamel does not regenerate, it is important to take care of your dental health and improve the lifespan of your dazzling smile.
Causes of Tooth Enamel Loss
Consumption of Food and Beverages that Erode Tooth Enamel
A lot of beverages like carbonated soft drinks and fruit juices contain acids that can cause harm to tooth enamel. Foods that are high in sugars and starches, especially fermentable carbohydrates, have a demineralizing effect on tooth enamel. Sugar-laden foods like candies and cookies can combine with the bacteria present in your mouth to produce acids that gradually erode away tooth enamel. Prolonged consumption of all such foods and drinks is bound to leave a negative impact on tooth enamel and cause erosion of the same.
A few medicines are also responsible for producing side effects that may lead to tooth enamel loss. Drugs like antihistamines, which are used in allergies, are known to block the release of saliva in the mouth causing a condition known as dry mouth. Saliva provides a great deal of protection to teeth and dry mouth can lead to increased chances of tooth enamel erosion. Dry mouth is also caused by several blood-pressure medications like calcium-channel-blockers, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, and diuretics, etc.
Diseases and Medical Disorders
Acid reflux diseases like GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) and eating disorders like bulimia, which causes frequent vomiting, lead to gradual but extensive tooth enamel erosion. This is due to the teeth being subjected to constant contact with regurgitated stomach acids, leading to corrosion of tooth enamel. Genetically-inherited disorders like Amelogenesis Imperfecta or Celiac Disease predispose tooth enamel to damage and decay. These conditions lead to delayed dental development, making them susceptible to cavities and enamel defects.
Our teeth are constantly subjected to wear and tear as a result of activities like chewing, biting, grinding, etc. Night-time grinding habits during sleep can result in extensive enamel loss if left unchecked for a long period of time. This occurs due to tooth-to-tooth friction that can wear away the enamel layer. Other harmful habits like brushing your teeth too hard or constantly biting down on hard objects can also deteriorate tooth enamel health over time.
Treatment of Tooth Enamel Loss
Tooth enamel once lost cannot be regenerated or regrown. However, there are some ways to strengthen tooth enamel that will help in its longevity.
Regular Brushing of Teeth
It is important to brush your teeth at least two times a day, every day. This is to remove the remnants of sticky or sugary foods that can adhere to teeth and lead to demineralization of tooth enamel. It is also important to use soft-bristled toothbrushes and brush teeth without using too much force. Always remember to brush all areas of the mouth, including your tongue.
Diet can play a major role in the maintenance of your dental health. It is advisable to avoid foods rich in sugars and starches and include other items that can help remineralize your teeth. Whole grain, fruits, vegetables, lean meat and low-fat dairy items such as cheese all contribute towards the rebuilding of tooth enamel naturally. You can also pay a visit to your local dentist to inquire about topical fluoride applications that will prevent further damage to your teeth and help in the remineralization process.
Repair of Tooth Enamel
Your family dentist can provide certain options to help restore or fix tooth enamel loss.
Dental Composite Bonding
This is more of a cosmetic procedure and can be used to restore the appearance of your teeth, especially front teeth, after tooth enamel loss. It involves a tooth-coloured dental resin applied to the affected area, which is moulded into shape and then hardened using a high-intensity light cure. After adjustments and polishing, the composite looks exactly like your natural tooth.
In more serious cases that involve extensive damage to the tooth or weakened enamel, your dentist may advise dental crowns. These cappings cover the tooth completely and prevent it from further damage, apart from providing structural integrity and improved aesthetics.