When you eat a spoonful of ice cream or take a sip from a piping hot mug of hot chocolate, do you experience a shooting pain through your tooth or teeth? If so, enamel erosion may to be blame for your tooth sensitivity.
Tooth enamel is the hard white coating that covers your teeth. Believe it or not, tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body and the second hardest naturally occurring substance in the universe, so it’s designed to protect your teeth from almost anything. Despite its strength, however, tooth enamel isn’t invincible.
During dental erosion, the surface of your tooth or teeth gradually wears away, leaving the sensitive layer underneath, called dentin, exposed and vulnerable. A number of factors can cause your tooth enamel to erode, including acid from citrus fruits and sodas, acid in the mouth due to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), frequent vomiting, and overly aggressive teeth brushing. Yes, it’s true that you can brush your teeth too hard.
In most cases of enamel erosion, acid is the main offender. While acids do develop in our mouths from the foods and drinks we consume, thorough brushing and flossing can usually protect us. If you suffer from acid reflux disease, a condition in which acid from the stomach comes up the esophagus and into the mouth, causing heartburn and other discomfort, talk to your general physician about how to control the condition, and talk to Dr. Brad Greenfield, a dentist in Lake Orion, Michigan, about how to protect your teeth from exposure to high levels of acid.