Tooth erosion is caused by acidic foods and drinks 'dissolving' away the surface of the tooth. It is becoming increasingly more common, especially due to greater consumption of fizzy drinks - including 'diet' brands.
Erosion caused by foods and drinks
Acids in the mouth can dissolve away tooth surfaces. Given the chance, teeth will repair themselves, using minerals from saliva. But if acid is in the mouth too often, teeth cannot repair themselves and the hard tooth surface (the enamel) becomes thinner - this is called 'erosion'.
The teeth can then become extra sensitive to hot and cold food and drink. Eroded teeth can also be more likely to suffer decay.
The main cause of erosion is too frequent consumption of certain kinds of food and drink. All fizzy drinks (including 'diet' brands and fizzy mineral water), all 'sports' drinks, all squashes and all fruit juices are acidic to varying degrees. Pickles and citrus fruits are examples of acidic types of food.
Some medicines are acidic and, therefore, erosive.
And people with some illnesses (such as eating disorders) may suffer from erosion because of frequent vomiting, as stomach acids also erode teeth. For this reason, dentists may ask about eating disorders if they see teeth that are very badly eroded.
Here are some key tips to prevent erosion