If you eat a lot of citrus fruits, drink carbonated soft drinks, suffer the eating disorder of bulimia, or experience the decline of saliva that often accompanies advancing age, you may be at risk of tooth erosion.
What can cause your teeth to erode so badly you wind up having to see a dentist: Nightly tooth grinding? Too many soft drinks? Aggressive brushing? Dry mouth? The scraping of a hygienist’s probe at a routine tooth cleaning?
Well, you can rule out the last one. But as for the rest, they can work, and do work together, to gradually wear away at your tooth’s enamel until something must be done.
A big part of reducing tooth erosion is keeping the oral environment well tended and at a stable pH—that is, not so acidic it starts to wear at the teeth. But what turns a mouth acidic? Lots of things. A teenage girl who binges on food and then vomits it back up to avoid weight gain is putting her mouth seriously at risk. But so is an overweight middle-aged man on a diet of high-fat food that occasionally makes its way back to the oral cavity after midnight—a condition known as Acid Reflux and/or GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease).
What can this all mean to you? First, there are risk factors for tooth erosion that can be controlled long before a reluctant trip to the dentist. And second, there’s no one single culprit involved (that is, unless you’re drinking a dozen cans of Coke a day without bothering to brush). If you think you have excess acid, tell your physician or we’d be happy to discuss ways to prevent it with you at your next scheduled checkup.