These are very destructive to the enamel. Slowly they erode the enamel away from the teeth at the gum line and sometimes at the back of the teeth where it is not visible. Teeth will slowly get thinner and thinner and chip away very easily. This not only causes esthetic problems- it causes severe functional problems as well. If this destructive process is not corrected the bite can collapse and cause severe jaw problems. If corrected soon enough, bonding can be done to cover exposed areas of teeth. If more than 25% of the tooth has eroded, porcelain veneers need to be designed to protect the underlying dentin and correct the bite problems that may have occurred. Ultimately, the acid level in the mouth has to be regulated by a gastroenterologist.
Swimming in overly chlorinated pools can wear away the enamel in people who swim quite frequently (i.e. daily). We have seen severe cases of this. We recommend that you have your teeth checked frequently and letting your dentist know that you swim in a chlorinated pool. Fluoride treatments can be given to help keep the teeth strong and swimming with a well adapted and custom fitted mouth guard can minimize exposure of teeth to chlorine.
Localized enamel hypoplasia refers to individual teeth that have hypo-plastic, hypo-calcified or hypo-mineralized areas on a tooth resulting from infection or trauma. It can vary from a mild to a severe form in which pitting and irregularity may be extensive in the crown. Developmental (amelogenesis imperfecta), systemic disturbances and nutritional deficiencies during infancy or metabolic disturbances during prenatal or neonatal life can cause hypoplasia. Tetracycline exposure, excessive ingestion of fluoride and high body temperature (fever) has also been implicated in enamel defects. Treatment options include crowns and veneers (if enough enamel remains) to protect the teeth from chipping and breaking as well as to improve overall esthetics, reduce sensitivity and restore function.
Soda/Citrus Drink Overuse
One of the ingredients in soda drinks (diet Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, etc) is phosphoric acid. Phosphoric acid is caustic to enamel. Citrus drinks have citric acid in them which is also caustic to enamel. Bathing the mouth in orange juice or soda, especially when sipping it slowly and allowing it to stay in the mouth too long can cause the enamel to slowly wear. Sucking on lemon wedges is also a way to breakdown the enamel on your teeth. If too much breakdown of enamel occurs, we have to consider treatment options to rebuild the lost tooth surface and the resultant sensitivity, loss of function and loss of esthetics.