Thinning Teeth & Cavities: Re-enamel your Teeth!
Abrasions and erosions wear away the tooth's outer covering - also known as the enamel. As the problem progresses, teeth become more sensitive to sweet, hot or cold food and drinks.
Tooth ABRASIONS are causes by:
- Rubbing or scraping against the teeth - such as brushing your teeth too hard
- Toothpaste containing silica or zirconium: Silica - an abrasive mineral - harms gums and wears away tooth enamel. Many toothpastes contain zirconium which is also very hard and whitens teeth by "polishing" or grinding off the surface of the enamel.
- Toothpicks may cause notches - usually between the teeth
- Partial dentures or retainers that you can remove.
Tooth EROSIONS are caused by:
- Sugary and Starchy Foods & Drinks: After eating and drinking, bacteria ferment the starches and sugars found in many food and beverage items - thus producing acid. Within 5 to 10 minutes after a meal or drink, the acid can cause the pH to drop low enough for minerals from the tooth’s enamel to be dissolved. This process is referred to as " demineralization."
- Also commonly caused by acidic foods and drinks which 'dissolve' away the surface of the tooth. For example, cola soft drinks contain phosphoric acid and are actually used by dentists to etch teeth before tooth sealants are applied.
- Stomach acids - if they come up into the throat and mouth (acid reflux)
- pH Level: In a healthy person the loss of minerals is naturally balanced by saliva. As long as the plaque's pH is above 5.5 pH, the calcium and phosphate ions from saliva can repair the damaged mineral crystals from the enamel. However, when the pH level is below 5.5 (acidic), the saliva and plaque are unsaturated and demineralization occurs -- which basically means that teeth soften and even dissolve.
- Chlorine and other chemicals in the tap water and even the swimming pool can cause erosion
- Dry mouth - click here to learn causes and treatment.
To help prevent and even reverse tooth abrasion and erosion:
- Avoid sugary & starchy foods or drinks, and those that contain acids.
- Rinse out the acids after each meal and each sugary beverage. The plaque pH rises when the acids are washed out and neutralized by saliva as the bicarbonate helps stop demineralization.
- Do not press too hard when brushing your teeth. Use only a soft-bristled toothbrush
- Avoid tooth pastes that contain silica or zirconium which will wear away enamel..
- Avoid tooth pastes with glycerin. Glycerin coats the teeth and prevents re-enamelization from nutrients in the diet.
- Use dental floss and toothpicks very carefully
- Address any dry mouth / insufficient flow of saliva
- Keep your teeth strong through optimal nutrition. Eating foods rich in calcium, magnesium and phosphorus will strengthen the enamel. Also either supplement with Vitamin D (the "sunshine" vitamin) or enjoy daily time in the sun to create Vitamin D naturally. High concentrations of these nutrients repair the early stages of tooth deterioration.
- Click here to learn more about tooth care.
Common Dental Health Problems
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