What Causes Tooth Enamel Erosion

 Tooth enamelTooth enamel gradually erodes over time. Though tooth enamel is incredibly strong, it is fallible just like every other portion of the human mouth and body. There is no single cause of tooth enamel erosion. Anything from acid exposure to the failure to properly clean teeth, the consumption of sugar-laden drinks and gastrointestinal issues can cause tooth enamel erosion.

Acid is the Top Threat to Tooth Enamel

Consume foods and beverages containing acid and your tooth enamel will erode sooner rather than later. Try to avoid soft drinks, fruit juices, berries, apples and citrus fruits and other foods and drinks with acid. Carbonated beverages typically have an abundance of acid. The saliva in your mouth serves the purpose of offsetting this harmful acid. Consuming an excess of acidic food and beverages combined with the failure to properly clean your teeth will lead to enamel degradation in due time. Avoid sugary foods like caramel, candy and ice cream. Even foods laden with starch such as white bread will attack tooth enamel.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Acid reflux can cause tooth enamel erosion. If you have a sensitive stomach or another health malady that causes frequent vomiting, it will send considerable amounts of acid into your mouth and lead to significant tooth enamel erosion.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth, also referred to as xerostomia, causes a reduction in saliva flow within the mouth. This increases acid levels in the mouth and spurs the erosion of the tooth structure, including the enamel.


Tooth enamel erosion is sometimes attributed to genetics. If your parents have tooth enamel erosion, your chances of having the same problem are that much higher. So don’t assume your personal habits are completely responsible for your tooth enamel erosion. You might be doing everything right and still suffer tooth enamel erosion simply because it is common in your family.

Poor Oral Health Habits

Chewing on ice, fingernails or the ends of pens can erode tooth enamel. Failing to brush or floss with regularity can also lead to gradual tooth enamel erosion.

Environmental Factors Also Matter

Tooth enamel erosion is also caused by environmental factors such as corrosion, friction, stress and wear and tear.


This one might be hard to believe yet it is completely true. Certain types of medication like antihistamines and aspirin really can erode tooth enamel. These medications transmit acids and similar substances to the mouth, causing enamel erosion.

If you suspect your medication is negatively impacting your tooth enamel, discuss your options with your physician and dentist. It might be possible to alter the dosage or replace your medication with another that is less harmful to tooth enamel. Do not lose sight of the fact that your teeth only have one layer of enamel. Though it is possible to gradually reinforce this enamel, it is much easier to prevent initial enamel loss than build it back up.

For more information call Preferred Dental Center at (210) 822-8500.

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