Our teeth are covered in a sturdy, mineralized substance called enamel. In fact, enamel is the hardest substance produced by our bodies—yes, even harder than bone! This tough material has a rough job, protecting our teeth from all the wear and tear that a lifetime of use can bring, but it does the job admirably.
Unfortunately, even in the healthiest teeth all of this heavy use may cause enamel to begin to break or erode.
Major Causes of Tooth Erosion
Historically, teeth wore out as a result of heavy grit in our foods, as well as and rough, raw meals being quite common. In our modern world, this is far less problematic for us. However, another major cause of wear has increased in prevalence: bruxism.
Bruxism is the consistent clenching and grinding of teeth, which will slowly-but-surely wear down the enamel. It can have many causes.
Stress | We live busy lives full of comings and goings and a lot of work. This takes its toll on our teeth. Whether we’re overwhelmed by our workload, or worried about a problem that we don’t know how to solve, we often manifest this stress through clenched fists, tight muscles, and gritted teeth.
TMD | The temporomandibular joint, which connects your jaw to your skull, is susceptible to stress from injury, overuse, or misalignment. Whatever the cause of the damage to the joint, it can result in tense muscles and bruxism.
Sleep Apnea | This sleep disorder can be a serious detriment to your overall health. Not only will it cause stress through insufficient sleep, but it can also result in excessive wear on your teeth.
Enamel doesn’t grow back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Erosion can, however, be slowed or halted. Here are some of the things you can do to keep your teeth safe and healthy.
- Drink enough water every day.
- Brush with fluoride toothpaste.
- Use re-mineralizing supplements to strengthen the existing enamel.
- Wear a mouthguard at night, to prevent unconscious bruxism.
- Take measures to relieve everyday stress.
- Receive treatment for TMDs or Sleep Apnea, if applicable.
If you have any questions about how to care for your teeth, give us a call. We’ll be glad to walk you through any services, causes of dental trouble, and treatment options.