What is dental erosion and how does it affect me?

Dental erosion is the irreversible loss of tooth structure due to exposure to acid. Basically this means thinning of the enamel leading to exposure of the soft underlying yellow dentine which is full of nerve endings. People with dental erosion will have softer and weaker enamel, heavily worn teeth and may also suffer from sensitivity.

Sources of acid exposure are varied and can include:

  • Fruit juices
  • Wine
  • Fizzy drinks
  • Sports drinks
  • Citrus fruits
  • Gastric reflux
  • Recurrent vomiting
  • Medications e.g. Vitamin C, Aspirin

In cases of erosion, it is best to avoid brushing immediately after an exposure to acidic food/drink. This is because the enamel is critically weakened at this point and brushing will remove even more of the softened enamel. It is recommended that you brush at least 30 minutes after eating or drinking something acidic.

Erosion may damage your teeth more quickly if you suffer from a dry mouth. Saliva is the mouth’s own cleaning system and acts to buffer acids and reduce erosion on teeth. Thus it is important that you stay hydrated to ensure there is plenty of saliva to protect your teeth.