Acidic Erosion: How It Differs from Tooth Decay and How It's Treated By Tim Kelly, DMD, PA on July 10, 2014

A woman smiling in a white roomDr. Timothy M. Kelly here in Albuquerque knows that patients' needs are diverse. This is why we offer the latest in advanced restorative dentistry to improve dental health and state-of-the-art cosmetic care to improve the aesthetics of your smile. By combining the two, optimal results are possible.

Our team also believes in patient education. One issue that has been coming up with relative consistency lately is tooth erosion, which is also known as dental erosion and acidic erosion. Let's explore this dental health topic right now.

About Tooth Erosion

Tooth erosion refers to the wear on the tooth enamel caused by an acidic pH in the mouth. This leads to gradual weakening of the tooth and exposure of the dentin layer of a tooth, which lies just under the enamel.

How is tooth erosion different from tooth decay?

While it sounds like tooth erosion and tooth decay are the same, they are in fact two different issues. The key difference between decay and erosion is their root causes. Tooth decay is caused by oral bacteria producing plaque, which eats away at tooth structure; this occurs independent of the pH of a person's mouth.

It is possible to suffer from issues of erosion and decay simultaneously, however, which can be very severe and lead to major pain as well as weak teeth.

Causes of Tooth Erosion

The following foods and beverages can lead to an acidic oral pH and make tooth erosion more likely:

  • Soft drinks
  • Fruit juices
  • Citrus fruits
  • Acid reflux disease (GERD)
  • Bulimia
  • Alcoholism

You'll note that bulimia is a cause, which makes sense given the nature of bulimia. If you should notice a loved one experiencing major weight loss as well as serious issues related to their dental health, it is advisable to consider helping that loved one get the treatment that they need.

Treatments for Tooth Erosion

When it comes to treating tooth erosion, the best option is generally the use of dental restorations, such as dental fillings, inlays, onlays, and dental crowns. When possible, we will use dental restorations that are tooth-colored and blend in seamlessly with your smile.

Tips for Preventing Tooth Erosion

The following are some simple things that you can do in order to prevent tooth erosion and maintain a healthy and basic pH within your mouth:

  • Drink water and rinse with water after having acidic substances
  • Wait an hour to brush your teeth after having an acidic substance
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day (ideally after every meal)
  • Floss your teeth every night (ideally after every meal)
  • Visit your dentist twice a year for regular checkups

Prevention is particularly key after treatment of tooth erosion in order to maintain an ideal condition for your teeth and restorations.

Schedule a Consultation for Advanced Dental Care

If you would like more information about tooth erosion and how we can treat it, we encourage you to contact our dental care center today. When you speak with Dr. Timothy M. Kelly, you will be able to receive ample information about all of your options for care.

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Dr. Timothy M. Kelly

Timothy M. Kelly, DMD, PA

Timothy M. Kelly, DMD, PA, has been in practice in Albuquerque, NM, since 1981. He provides a wide range of cosmetic, restorative, and general dental services, with a special emphasis on the treatment of TMJ disorder. Some of our most popular services include:

To request an appointment with Dr. Kelly, please fill out our online form or call (505) 256-1770.

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"We believe that every patient has infinite worth and should be treated with dignity and respect. We are dedicated to educating, creating awareness, and empowering people to make treatment choices that are consistent with their own beliefs, needs and desires." Dr. Tim Kelly

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