Dental erosion is when tooth enamel or exposed root is solved by an acid that does not come from the mouth bacteria. If dental erosion is not contested, the tooth enamel can eventually disappear entirely. Subsequently, the exposed dentin may also dissolve. Since tooth mineral mainly consist of calcium phosphate, it can completely dissolve in any given acid. Dental erosion is usually caused by acids derived from acidic drinks (soft drinks and juices ) and acidic foods (fruits). The acidity of stomach can also couse dental erosion by culprit in the mouth coming through regurgitation or vomiting (such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and alcoholism).
Our saliva provides a natural protection against dental erosion. The buffer capacity ensures that acids are neutralized. Moreover, saliva proteins form a precipitate on teeth, which, in turn, protects the tooth material against deterioration. This layer, called the pellicle, is partially removed by brushing. The process of dental erosion will occur predominantly on clean tooth surfaces, so with a good oral hygiene. However, that good oral hygiene is also important to fight dental erosion! Dental caries can occure when we immediately brush our teeth after consuming drinks or foods. We must make a clear distinction between dental erosion and dental caries.
If a tooth surface is not cleaned properly the remaining acid bacteria will become a from of sugar and other carbohydrates. This acid (mostly lactic acid) is excreted on the tooth surface, resulting in dental caries. In contrast Dental erosion occurs mainly in proper oral hygiene. This is because acid on clean tooth can act stronger.