Enamel is the outermost layer that protects the crown of the tooth. This layer is the thinnest, transparent, and toughest tissue in the body that serves to protect the teeth when chewing, biting, and grinding food. In addition, enamel can also protect teeth from extreme temperatures and the influence of chemicals. The loss of the enamel layer requires treatment from a dentist. Meanwhile, recognizing the symptoms and factors that trigger enamel loss can help you prevent it.
Method 1 of 3: Recognizing the Symptoms of Enamel Loss
Step 1. Visit the dentist regularly
Signs of damage to the enamel layer are difficult to detect early on. So, you have to pay close attention to the condition of your teeth and have regular checkups with your dentist. The patient's symptoms are of paramount importance in the diagnosis of tooth enamel erosion. This way, regular checkups will maximize your chances of detecting this problem early.
Step 2. Observe the condition of the teeth at home
In addition to visiting the dentist, you should also spend time observing the condition of your teeth at home and checking for signs of erosion or decay. To prevent enamel loss, you should keep your teeth clean by brushing and flossing between them twice a day. Getting used to maintaining oral hygiene will make you better understand the condition of your teeth so that you have a greater chance of detecting signs of erosion early on.
In most of the cases, the earliest signs of tooth decay are most often seen in the canines. So here's the best part about detecting the early signs of tooth decay, or in this case friction
Step 3. Recognize the visible signs of erosion
There are a number of symptoms of erosion and tooth decay that you can see by observing the appearance of the tooth surface. As the enamel wears off and the dentin layer is exposed, the teeth may become discolored and appear yellow.
- When chewing, the edges of the teeth may feel hard, bent, or appear irregular with cracks and fractures.
- You may see hollows on the surface of the teeth. This depression is known as cupping and can be a symptom of tooth erosion.
- If your teeth appear very smooth and shiny, this may be a symptom of friction. Some other signs of friction are tori (similar to callus) that form on the upper teeth, around the gums, and on the inside of the lower teeth around the gums. Abfraction lesions on the sides of the teeth, linea alba (lines on the cheeks), and a bumpy tongue are also signs of rubbing against the teeth.
- Research shows that the cause of nighttime tooth grinding (and its decay) is obstructive sleep apnea. Thus, grinding against the teeth is a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, not stress.
Step 4. Watch for sensory signs of enamel loss
You should also pay close attention to any sensory symptoms that may arise. If your tooth hurts, hurts, or is very sensitive, don't ignore this as it may be a symptom of a more serious dental problem. In the early stages of enamel erosion, the sensitivity of your teeth may increase when you eat certain foods and drinks.
- If sweet or hot foods, and cold drinks cause tooth pain, this may signal an early stage of erosion of the gum line of the tooth known as abfraction.
- In advanced enamel erosion, this sensitivity and pain will increase significantly until the tooth becomes very sensitive to temperature, especially cold temperatures.
- If you feel pain like this, act immediately and make an appointment with a dentist to try to prevent tooth erosion from worsening.
Method 2 of 3: Adjusting Dental Care to Cope with Enamel Loss
Step 1. Talk about the treatment with your dentist
If your tooth enamel is eroding, you should see your dentist to discuss treatment options. Tooth enamel cannot heal itself naturally. So, if you experience erosion, you need treatment advice from the experts. The treatment provided will be determined by your specific condition. Options include coating the tooth with a crown or a ceramic coating.
- Dental crowns can be attached to teeth to restore their shape and strength.
- Dental fillings can be used to fill and close cavities in teeth. This treatment will reduce tooth sensitivity and smooth the damaged surface.
- If your condition is less severe, your dentist may recommend using a tooth remineralizing cream or fluoride gel to strengthen your teeth.
Step 2. Buy a soft-bristled toothbrush
While you can't treat enamel loss on your own, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk. Some dentists believe that one of the causes of tooth loss is brushing too hard. This habit can also cause gum recession. Especially if you brush your teeth vigorously with a hard-bristled brush. So, you should switch to using a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush your teeth gently.
- Be sure to use the correct brushing technique. Brush all the teeth up and down in a vertical circular motion.
- Brush your teeth twice a day for about two minutes at a time.
Step 3. Use a fluoride toothpaste
To avoid enamel loss, you need healthy teeth. Fluoride serves to strengthen teeth against decay. So, when buying toothpaste, make sure it contains fluoride in it. Toothpastes like these are widely available at convenience stores, and often state the fluoride content in the package.
If you've had cavities or other problems, your dentist may recommend daily fluoride treatments
Step 4. Use mouthwash and toothpaste specifically for sensitive teeth
The use of mouthwash and toothpaste like this can reduce the pain caused by enamel loss. Use toothpaste as usual. Use mouthwash to rinse your mouth for 30 seconds, 2 times a day after brushing your teeth. Various brands of toothpaste and mouthwash for sensitive teeth are sold in pharmacies, drug stores, and dentists.
Method 3 of 3: Changing Daily Habits to Prevent Enamel Loss
Step 1. Reduce intake of acidic drinks
One of the causes of tooth decay and enamel erosion is a poor diet, or excessive consumption of certain damaging substances. Limit intake of carbonated drinks and fruit juices. If possible, drink soft drinks and alcohol through a straw to reduce tooth decay. Using a straw can help keep the soda away from your teeth.
- While they may seem healthy, some fruit juices contain acids that are very damaging to teeth and lead to enamel loss. Also, try to avoid drinks that contain a lot of sugar.
- High intake of herbal teas has a greater potential to erode teeth than orange juice.
Step 2. Gargle with water after every meal and drink
Water can help wash away food and drink debris that can erode teeth. After eating and drinking something sour, take a moment to rinse your mouth. The sooner you remove these debris, the healthier your teeth will be.
- The oral environment will become acidic several hours after eating foods rich in sugar and starch.
- If water isn't available around you, take advantage of saliva protection.
- Saliva serves to neutralize the acidic compounds you just ate.
- Drink more water throughout the day if your mouth is dry or you don't salivate much.
Step 3. Chew sugar-free gum between meals
Another way to neutralize acid in the mouth after eating and drinking is chewing gum. Chewing gum can greatly increase the production of saliva in the mouth (up to 10 times the normal amount). The mineral content in saliva will help strengthen teeth and get rid of residual acid from food and drink.
- Be sure to choose gum that is sugar free and contains xylitol.
- Reduce chewing to avoid potential problems with the jaw joint and friction on the teeth.
Step 4. Understand the environmental factors
Both friction and wear-and-tear damage to the teeth cause enamel loss and erosion. Teeth grinding creates friction, and abrasion can occur when teeth are brushed too vigorously. Another cause of wear and tear on teeth is biting and chewing on hard objects such as pens, pencils, and nails.