Tooth Erosion At Gum Line: Definition, Causes & Risks

tooth erosion at gum line

The teeth is among the hardest substances found in our body. With the help of hard protective layers the teeth is supposed to stand strong and functional throughout our days of living. The tooth enamel is the hardest and the outermost layer of the teeth. When you don’t take good care of your teeth, your teeth enamel will start to weaken and erode. Tooth erosion at gum line is mostly caused by acidic foods and plaque accumulation. Although, apart from acidic foods and plaque buildups, there are other factors that can lead to tooth erosion.

Before the end of this article, I will reveal to you those things that can soften and erode your tooth enamel. If your teeth is eroding, your teeth enamel will be getting thinner, often times causing gums recession and teeth sensitivity. After knowing the possible causes of these oral problem, it’s now left for you to take actions in order to prevent further damages.

Causes of tooth erosion

Before taking any action in treating tooth erosion. Your dentist will have to identify the underlying cause first, if not the problem with still return. Here are some of the things that might be responsible for your tooth erosion:

  1.  Aggressive brushing: when you brush too hard, you will generate lots of frictional force that can damage your teeth enamel. Brushing aggressively with hard bristled toothbrush or abrasive toothpaste, can lead to physical wear and tear of your tooth surface.
  2. Dental plaque: plaque are mostly sticky sugary substances that sticks to the teeth after meal. When you eat sticky sugary foods such as candies, chocolates, cookies etc. These foods tend to cling to the teeth, if they’re allowed to stay for some period of time, they thickens forming plaque on the teeth surfaces. Plaque tend to attract lots of harmful bacteria that feeds on the sugars it contains. The activities of these bacteria leads to the formation of acids that will eventually damage your teeth enamel.
  3. Teeth grinding: teeth grinding at night is very common. Most people grind their teeth while sleeping without knowing. It may also occur during the daytime, but it occurs more often at night. Frequent teeth grinding exerts constant pressure and fictional force on your teeth. This can lead to gradual wearing away of your teeth’s protective layers. If you do grind, learn now how to stop teeth grinding.
  4. Acid attack: excessive consumption of sugary and acidic foods can damage your teeth enamel. Some soft drinks and fruits contains high levels of phosphoric and citric acids. When you take much of these type of drinks or foods, the acids they contain will erode your teeth. Acid reflux, diet sodas, fruit drinks and carbonated drinks can all lead to tooth erosion. If your teeth are under constant acids attack, you might consider taking anti-acids medications.
  5. Low salivary flow (xerostomia): your teeth can erode if your salivary glands can’t produce enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. If you experience dry mouth very often, then you’ll be at high risk of developing tooth erosion at gum line. The saliva contains properties that helps to maintain a pH level that is unsafe for harmful oral bacteria to live in. It also plays an important role in neutralizing those erosive acids that can damage your teeth. Certain medications, dehydration or disease can lead to salivary gland dysfunction. Without enough saliva production, your teeth will be more susceptible to acid attacks
  6.  Alcoholism: excessive consumption of alcohol can result to frequent tooth erosion. A study reported that certain alcohol contains chemicals that can cause enamel erosion and tooth decay. Frequent consumption of such alcoholic drinks leads to tooth erosion, it can also Increase your chances of developing cavities and teeth sensitivity.
  7. Genetics: it’s also believed that genetics can be responsible for tooth erosion. Everybody is not the same, some people have hard thicker teeth enamel while others don’t. If you inherited thinner teeth enamel, then there are possibilities that you will suffer from tooth erosion. If your teeth enamel are not hard or thick enough, frictional force from brushing or bitting on hard substances can wear down or destroy your teeth easily.

Signs of tooth erosion

Depending on the stage that the tooth erosion has gotten to, the signs may vary. Tooth erosion at gum line comes with different signs. One more thing I would like you to is that – tooth erosion usually occur more often along the gum lines. Severe erosion of your teeth protective layers at the gum lines can lead to the exposure of your teeth roots and nerve endings. Some of the common symptoms includes :

  • Teeth sensitivityyou will start to feel pain and discomfort on the affected teeth each time you take sweet, hot or cold foods. These is usually a sign that the foods are coming in direct contact with the roots of your teeth.
  • Tooth decay: tooth erosion creates pockets or small holes where harmful bacteria can inhabit. The activities of these bacteria can lead to tooth decay. If left untreated, you can end up having lots of dental cavities.
  • Yellow coloration: this is the most common symptom that can be easily noticed. The normal color of the teeth enamel is white, the inner layer of the teeth is yellow in color. Yellow coloration shows that the outermost white layer of your teeth is no longer there. One most common cause of yellow coloration of the teeth is aggressive brushing. Brushing too hard wears off the tooth enamel, leading to yellow coloration of the teeth.

If teeth grinding is the cause of your teeth erosion, the edges of your teeth will be more rough and irregular. However, tooth erosion might be painless at the early stage, but it can make your teeth to be more susceptible to tooth decay, sensitivity and cavities. If suspect that your teeth are eroding, you should contact your dentist for proper dental examination and treatment. This can save you the time and money to be used for treating preventable damages.

What you should do

Tooth erosion usually occur when we don’t proper care of our teeth. Factors such as: poor oral hygiene, excessive acidic foods and alcohol consumption, acids reflux, reduced salivary flow, and mechanical damages such as hard brushing and teeth grinding can all put you at risk of tooth erosion. Early detection is very important when treating tooth erosion.

However, you should try as much as possible to reduce further damages to your teeth. Cutting down on those things that erodes your teeth is an effective way to prevent tooth erosion. You should be cautious of the amount of acidic foods or drinks that you take daily. If you must take acidic drinks it’s advisable that you use straw. Straw delivers such drinks directly at the back of your mouth, preventing direct contacts of these drinks with your teeth.

There are numerous treatments available for tooth erosion, your dentist can recommend the most suitable restoration treatments for you. Depending on how deep your tooth has eroded, your dentist may recommend covering your tooth with a crown. If your eroding teeth is as a result of dry mouth. You should consider taking foods that will help to boost the production of saliva in your mouth. You can check out how to cure dry mouth here.

In addition, dental plaque especially those along the gum lines are more dangerous and harder to clean off. Normal brushing and flossing might not be enough to clear them away. There might be need for a professional dental cleaning from your dentist, in order to get rid of them. Read more – how to prevent tooth erosion

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