Erosion or Tooth Wear

Dental erosion is a form of tooth wear caused by the action of acids on the teeth. The source of these acids may be from:

  • Reflux (a surprisingly common medical condition whereby stomach acids are allowed to travel back up to the oral cavity - a high percentage of cases are undiagnosed until you visit a dentist and abnormal acid wear is detected on your teeth)
  • Chronic vomiting (e.g. bulimia)
  • Highly acidic diet (e.g. soft drinks, fruit juices, wine)

These strong acids have the potential to dissolve the outer layers of the enamel initially, followed by the inner layers, and finally the dentine, causing an irreversible loss of tooth structure and predisposing the tooth to sensitivity. Once you have lost these minerals your body cannot replace them.

Affected teeth have a dished out appearance and appear more yellow (an example is shown below, click for a larger image)

Treatment of dental erosion generally begins with an investigation into the cause. Your dentist may refer you to your GP to get tested for reflux. The erosion lesions will usually be filled to prevent further destruction and relieve any sensitivity of your remaining tooth structure. Supplemental oral hygiene products may be suggested to prevent, slow down or control sensitivity associated with the erosion.


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