How to Prevent Tooth Wear?
The first line of treatment is Advice!
This includes education (see our tooth wear series); understanding what is going on; what is causing it and how to prevent it. If the tooth wear is caught early, this is often all that is needed.
Advice on How to Prevent Dietary Erosion
Know what foods are acidic and will cause erosion on your teeth – limit these and where possible confine them to meal times:
- Drink still non- carbonated drinks.
- Have something neutral after consuming something acidic such as a glass of water to wash the acid away.
- Chew sugar free gum to help stimulate more saliva to neutralize the affects of the acid.
- Drinking through a straw will certainly help and some people have a bizarre habit of swishing drinks all around their mouths before swallowing them – not a good idea, unless it’s water.
- DO NOT brush straight after eating or drinking anything sugary- the bacteria will be full stream ahead producing acid at this point which is softening (demineralising) the enamel on your teeth. The worst thing you can do is take a brush to it and scrub away- you will almost certainly be doing more damage than good. Let your saliva do its job and neutralize things first. Rinse with water by all means- but save brushing for half an hour later.
(I had a patient not too long ago with great oral hygiene but extensive wear across all of his teeth. I questioned him about it and what previous dentists had recommended- all sound advice on avoiding drinks and foods that cause erosion. It turns out, he brushed his teeth with a medium hard tooth brush immediately after drinking orange juice at work at least twice everyday because he was worried about the effects of the sugar. Bingo.)
- Consider using products that help remineralise enamel such as Proenamel toothpaste or a high fluoride mouthwash
- Fluoride increases the hardness and resistance of enamel to dental caries but also to acid wear.
See our chapter on fluoride for more details and always follow your dentists recommendations- every individual and situation is unique so a full examination and history is needed to tailor individual advice.
Advice on How to Prevent Regurgitation Erosion
Consult your medical doctor if you suffer from GERD (or GORD) or hiatus hernia and begin appropriate treatment to reduce gastric reguritation.
If you are anorexic or bulimic – seek comfort and help in tackling this problem. There are many helplines and organizations available which can help you. I appreciate this is not easy and asking for help can be very difficult. I did a little research and found this to be a particularly good website for information and help on eating disorders
After being sick…
- DO NOT brush your teeth straight after!!! Wait 30-40 minutes
- Just wash your mouth out with water to neutralize the acid
- Use a fluoride mouthwash to freshen your breathe and get some fluoride in there to start working its magic
- Again, using a specialised toothpaste such as pro-enamel or tooth mousse that contains calcium and phosphate (or substitutes) can help protect and preserve your teeth.
Advice on How to Prevent Attrition
- Do not clench and grind intentionally during the day.
- At night you have less control, so if this is when it is happening see your dentist; have a dental splint or night guard made (and wear it!)
Advice on How to Prevent Abrasion
- Learn the correct brushing technique.
- Brush more than 2-3 times a day- it’s unnecessary
- Use a long, hard, fast horizontal scrubbing motion
- Brush you teeth straight after eating… Again wait 30-40 minutes
- Chew or bite your nails, pencils, seeds or any other objects with your front teeth.