Tooth erosion and tooth decay both cause damage to the teeth, but the damage done is of different types. They also have different causes. Both can result in serious long-term damage if they are not treated. Your dentist can help diagnose tooth erosion or tooth decay and provide treatment to prevent tooth loss.
What is Tooth Erosion?
Tooth erosion occurs when the protective outer layer of the tooth, the enamel, is worn down or dissolved. If enough of the enamel erodes, the underlying dentin becomes exposed, leading to sensitivity and discomfort in the tooth. Major causes of tooth erosion include:
- Exposure to highly acidic foods
- Wear and tear
- Dry mouth
- Acid reflux
If your enamel has begun to erode, you might experience persistent, often severe sensitivity. Discoloration is another common symptoms. As the enamel erodes, more of the dentin beneath it shows through, giving your teeth a yellowed appearance. You might also see chips or cupping on the surfaces of the teeth.
What is Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay occurs as a result of plaque and tartar accumulating on the surfaces of the teeth. Plaque, a white, sticky substance, is a waste product left behind by bacteria that eat food particles in the mouth. If it is not cleaned from the teeth, it builds up to form tartar, which is hard and more difficult to remove from the teeth. When you go for a professional cleaning from your dentist, tartar is removed to keep your teeth clean and less vulnerable to decay. [pullquote]Your dentist can help diagnose tooth erosion or tooth decay and provide treatment to prevent tooth loss.[/pullquote]
Both tartar and plaque are highly acidic. The acid eats through the enamel and the dentin, creating tooth decay. If you have experienced tooth erosion, you will be more vulnerable to tooth decay because the enamel is thinner, but tooth erosion and tooth decay are different processes.
Regular visits to our team of dentists can help prevent both tooth erosion and tooth decay. Regular evaluation of your teeth makes it possible to diagnose these issues in early stages so they can be successfully treated.