why is my enamel wearing away

Why Is My Enamel Wearing Away? (part 1)

Dr. Joshua Colkmire Dentist Sarasota

Dr. Joshua Colkmire

Dr. Colkmire’s dental degree comes from NYU College of Dentistry, and he also holds bachelor’s degrees from Lee University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a member of the American Dental Association, the Florida Dental Association, and the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is also a part of the renowned Seattle Study Club, a vibrant international network of dentists who meet to share knowledge about how to provide excellent care to each and every patient who comes into their practice.
Dr. Joshua Colkmire

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No one likes to get cavities or sensitive teeth, and the culprit behind many tooth problems is that the enamel got compromised or worn down. Loss of enamel can lead to your teeth getting cavities, being discolored, having higher propensity for chipping, and becoming more sensitive to heat and cold, so it’s important to protect it. Enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, which is a good thing considering you only get one set of permanent teeth. However, even enamel can be worn away, and it’s up to you to protect it. Knowing why and how enamel gets worn down can help you to take action to help your teeth to last a lifetime. Here are a few reasons from our dental clinic in Sarasota for why your enamel gets worn off.

1. Acid

A healthy mouth wants to be slightly alkaline, and if you keep your mouth’s pH at around 7.5, it can actually build your teeth stronger. On the other hand, if your mouth is acidic, it will weaken your teeth, and the more acidic your mouth gets, the more your teeth get eaten away by that acid.

What most people don’t realize is that you don’t have to actually consume acidic things for your mouth to be acidic. They feel like they’re safe as long as they’re not eating raw lemons. Not true. Soft drinks are one of the main culprits for creating an acidic environment in the mouth. Lollipops and hard candy are another. The longer your mouth is in contact with the acid-causing substance, the more it will hurt your teeth. If your mouth’s pH reaches 5.5, your teeth will start to demineralize.

Other reasons your mouth might be too acidic:

  • Dry mouth (xerostomia)
  • Consuming large quantities of sugar
  • Acid reflux from the stomach
  • Certain medications (e.g. antihistamines, antidepressants, aspirin) that reduce the flow of saliva

What to do to counteract it:

  • Drink lots of pure water
  • Cut down on your intake of soft drinks and sugary foods
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet rich in whole foods and raw vegetables
  • Make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin D and Vitamin K in your diet

2. Abrasion

If you’ve ever owned a non-stick skillet, you know that you’re not supposed to use one of those abrasive pads or steel wool to clean off any burnt or stuck food. Why? Because you’ll damage the finish on the pan and it will lose its non-stick properties. The same holds true with your teeth, even though no one would ever dream of using steel wool as a toothbrush. Abrasion can wear away your enamel, and the principle is that you should only scrub your teeth with things that are softer than your enamel and that won’t scrub it off.

What you should do to counteract abrasion:

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Be wary of using toothpastes and alternative products that contain abrasive or gritty material.

Stay tuned for our next blog, when we’ll cover more of the reasons that your enamel gets compromised or worn down. In the meantime, don’t miss your regular 6-month checkup! Schedule your appointment for teeth cleaning or other dental work with Dr. Colkmire today. Contact us to get started.