Enamel is the hard, protective coating of the tooth, which covers the sensitive dentine underneath. When the enamel is worn away, the dentine underneath is exposed, which may lead to pain and sensitivity.
At Temple Street Dental Practice we see erosion very commonly in all age groups. It often starts in childhood, most commonly due to the drinking of carbonated drinks or fruit juices. Once the enamel is damaged it cannot grow back. Erosion continues to progress throughout life and can become very severe with time.
Erosion usually shows up as hollows in the teeth and a general wearing away of the tooth surface and the biting edges of the teeth. This can expose the dentine underneath, which is a darker, yellower, colour than the enamel. As the dentine is exposed, the teeth can become sensitive to hot, cold or sweet food and drinks. The front teeth may begin to look short and square, with sharp edges that break easily.
Every time acid touches the surface of your teeth the enamel becomes softer and loses some of its mineral content. The acid that causes the problems can come from food, from drinks or from your stomach. Your saliva will slowly neutralise the acid in your mouth and restore it to its natural balance. However, if the acid attack happens too often, the teeth do not have a chance to repair themselves and tiny particles of enamel can be washed or worn away.
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