As your teeth age, you may notice that your enamel begins to look dull or get darker. Some of this may be attributed to environmental staining from foods and drinks. Some enamel changes, however, are due to wear and tear that accumulates over time. Our O’Fallon dentists are here to help you understand to help you understand what kinds of conditions can change the appearance of you enamel.
Let’s start with a type of wear and tear that most people don’t consider—it’s called attrition. Dental attrition happens when teeth wear down from hitting other teeth regularly. If you suffer from bruxism—a condition in which patients regularly grind and clench their teeth—you likely suffer from some level of dental attrition. To avoid complications from attrition, see your dentist regularly for check ups, and seek prompt treatment for bruxism.
If you’re using a toothbrush that’s too firm, you may notice dental degradation caused by dental abrasion. Dental abrasion refers to worn away dental enamel caused by any tools or foreign objects. The most likely culprit is a toothbrush that’s too firm (most patients will do well with a soft bristled brush). Also make sure that your don’t apply too much pressure as you brush, as this can weaken enamel and cause gum problems.
The last condition you should look out for is dental erosion. Dental erosion is probably the most well known enamel problem. Erosion is caused by oral acids—these acids are caused by bacteria in your mouth. It’s natural for oral bacteria to cause acid as they metabolize sugars and carbohydrates, but it’s important that you keep these acids in check as best you can. Remember to brush and floss regularly, and try rinsing your mouth after meals to slow the production of oral acid.
As you can see, there are a number of conditions that can affect the state of your dental enamel. Call our O’Fallon cosmetic dentists to learn more or to schedule your own consultation to access your enamel health.