Addressing the Rise of Erosive Tooth wear in Adolescents

Posted on 11/15/2023 by Brian Rounds, DDS
African American teen boy with braces smiling after visit to Brian K. Rounds, DDS in Lacey, WAIn recent times, as adolescents increasingly gravitate towards acidic foods and beverages, there's a notable uptick in cases of erosive tooth wear. This irreversible damage to the tooth structure can result in pain, heightened sensitivity, and compromised aesthetics if left unchecked. Recognizing and understanding this growing concern empowers dentists and teenagers to collaboratively take preventive measures against such erosion.

Understanding How Acids Damage Teeth

Erosive tooth wear occurs when frequent exposure to acidic substances removes mineralized tooth enamel. Sports drinks, juices, soda, and even vitamin C supplements are highly acidic. The enamel dissolves slightly with each acid contact. Over time, this cumulative damage can become severe.

Signs to Look For

Dentists can spot early signs like enamel softening, cupping, and grooving. As more enamel erodes, teeth may appear transparent. Progressing erosion leads to thinning, chipping, and increased sensitivity as dentin becomes exposed. Teens may notice painful zapping from hot or cold foods. Addressing erosion in its early stages is crucial.

Preventive and Restorative Solutions

Dentists have several options to get erosion under control. Fluoride treatments strengthen the remaining enamel. Monitoring pH and limiting acidic foods helps prevent more damage. Recommending xylitol gum promotes saliva flow to neutralize acids. In more severe cases, bonding agents and dental fillings can reinforce weakened areas. Veneers or crowns may eventually become necessary.

Making Positive Changes

With some lifestyle adjustments, teens can curb erosion and maintain their beautiful, healthy smiles. Limiting acidic drinks, swishing with water after consumption, and avoiding brushing immediately can make a difference. Drinking with a straw takes acid away from teeth. Dentist visits every six months allow early detection and prevention. Being mindful of their oral health empowers teens to act positively against tooth erosion.

Erosive tooth wear in adolescents, driven by dietary choices, demands swift action. Combining early detection by dentists with informed decisions by teens can secure a healthier dental future for the next generation.
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