Tooth Erosion at the Gum Line

Enamel is the outer layer of tissue that covers and protects your teeth. When kids and adolescents drink or eat sugary or acidic foods and liquids, that outer layer may erode.

Erosion of tooth enamel at the gum line is typically caused by tooth decay, but other gastric conditions may cause it, as well. While easily prevented, tooth erosion leaves your gums and teeth open to cavity-inducing bacteria and gum disease.

Causes of Tooth Enamel Erosion

Our tooth enamel protects our teeth as we bite, chew, grind, speak, and sing. Tooth enamel regulates sensitivity temperatures in our mouths so hot or cold foods don’t hurt our teeth and gum line.

There are two types of enamel erosion:

1. Intrinsic Erosion

Intrinsic erosion is caused by internal gastric acid and regurgitation due to medical or psychological issues. This type of erosion is more difficult to prevent and requires specialized treatment, depending on the cause. Causes include:

  • Acid reflux
  • Anorexia
  • Dry mouth
  • Low salivation
  • Bulimia
  • Alcoholism
  • Pregnancy
  • GI tract issues
  • Genetics

2. Extrinsic Erosion

Extrinsic erosion at the gum line is caused by external sources that produce too much acid. Some causes include:

Signs of Tooth Enamel Erosion

Depending on what stage of tooth decay your child is experiencing, signs of enamel erosion may vary. Common signs of decay include:

  1. High sensitivity to sweet foods, and hot or cold temperatures
  2. Yellow discoloration of teeth
  3. Cracks, chips, and brittle or jagged teeth
  4. Pain
  5. Indentations forming on the surface of teeth

If you notice any of these signs in your child, consult your family dentist immediately and schedule an appointment. Many dental offices like Kool Smiles have flexible payment plans to meet your budget, and accommodating office hours including weekends.

Tooth Erosion Prevention with Kool Smiles

When it comes to tooth decay, the best offense is a good defense. Easy prevention methods include:

  • Brush twice daily, after meals.
  • Floss once a day.
  • Avoid eating acidic foods, fruits, and drinks.
  • Rinse your mouth out after eating acidic foods, fruits, or drinks.
  • Drink sodas and juices with a straw.
  • Avoid excessive snacking throughout the day.
  • Chew sugar-free gum to increase saliva and curb hunger.
  • Drink water throughout the day.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste to strengthen your teeth.

Finally, children should visit their dentist twice a year for cleaning, checkups, x-rays, and general wellness.

Want to know more about protecting your child’s teeth? Since 2002, Kool Smiles dentistry has been providing quality, affordable dental care in areas all over the country in the fight against tooth decay.

Call us today and schedule an appointment for your child.

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Sources:

Colgate: http://www.colgateenamelhealth.com/enamel-101/enamel-erosion

RDH Mag: http://www.rdhmag.com/etc/medialib/new-lib/rdh/site-images/volume-31/issue-8/1108RDH075-085.pdf