Your teeth have an outer hard layer known as enamel. The enamel protects your teeth which include the inner pulp and nerves. When the enamel of your teeth is worn down, your teeth are more susceptible to cavities and decay. There are several things which wear down the enamel of your teeth. Grinding your teeth, clenching your teeth, a chip or fracture of the tooth, and acidic foods and beverages can all wear down your teeth.
Grinding and Clenching Your Teeth
Many people grind or clench their teeth and are not even aware of it. Grinding and clenching your teeth at night is a common condition many dentists see in their patients. This condition is known as bruxism. Bruxism can be caused by many factors.
- Stress and anxiety
- Teeth alignment
- Some medications
- Sleep apnea
Grinding your teeth not only wears down the protective enamel, but it can also cause headaches, pain in the jaw, and facial tightness and pain. Your dentist may fit you with a night guard to help prevent teeth grinding and clenching, or they may prescribe muscle relaxers in extreme cases.
Chipped, Broken, or Fractured Teeth
Sports injuries are the most common cause of chipped, broken, or fractured teeth. If your teeth are damaged this puts you at greater risk of damaging the enamel. Avoid chewing very hard foods like ice and hard candy to prevent damage to your teeth. Don’t use your teeth as tools. Use a bottle opener or scissors to open bottles and packages. If you play sports, ask your dentist to fit you for a mouth guard to ensure the safety of your teeth.
What you eat and drink has an effect on your teeth. Very acidic and sugary foods wear down the enamel of your teeth and can lead to cavities and decay. Citrus fruits, sodas, sports drinks, and energy drinks contain high amounts of acid and sugar. The acid wears away the enamel and the sugar promotes the growth of bacteria which cause cavities.
Acid reflux may also wear down your teeth because the acid in your stomach comes up into your throat and mouth. Frequent vomiting also exposes your teeth to stomach acids and can wear them down. Visit your doctor to get these conditions treated so that your health and your teeth are protected.
Dr. Taylor has solutions to help protect the precious enamel on your teeth. Mouth guards help prevent grinding and clenching, and sports mouth guards protect your teeth. She may recommend a clear sealant as an extra measure of protection.
Call of contact our office today and ask about protecting the enamel of your teeth. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.