Pits In Tooth Enamel

Tooth enamel is the hardest tissue in the human body. It is the thin shell that makes up the outside of the tooth and is responsible for protecting the soft pulpy dentin inside teeth and providing a solid surface for biting and chewing. However hard it may seem, it is not impermeable and chips and cracks are common occurrences. When the enamel layer is depleted in small depressions or grooves on the surface of teeth, it is known as pitting.

Erosion of Tooth Enamel

The outer layer of the tooth, enamel, is susceptible to erosion from many different causes. The largest factor in most cases of erosion is diet. It is essential to brush and rinse your mouth after consuming sugary or acidic food or drinks. Soft drinks, sour candies, fruit juices, and food with high sugar and starch content are particularly damaging to tooth enamel because they provide the bacteria living in your mouth with nourishment and allow them to multiply and spread throughout your mouth.

Other medical conditions, such as acid reflux, GERD, and other gastrointestinal issues can cause excess acids to enter the mouth, causing more erosion.

Certain medications that cause dry mouth can be damaging as well. Saliva has many benefits such as preventing tooth decay by washing away bacteria and leftover food bits after eating. Saliva also helps to dilute the acid levels in your mouth.

Other behaviors can lead to damaged enamel. Bruxism (grinding and clenching the teeth), brushing or flossing too hard, and chewing on hard food and objects can cause pitting or even fracturing of the teeth if the behavior is not addressed.

Symptoms of Pitting in Enamel

There are many signs that your enamel is damaged, depending on the severity of the pitting.

* Sensitivity to sugary or acidic foods
* Sensitivity to hot and cold foods
* Discoloration as the inner dentin is exposed
* Noticeable cracks and chips
* Smooth and shiny tooth surface as the mineral content of the enamel is worn away
* Cupping occurs as the enamel is completely eroded in places

When the enamel is eroded, cavities are not far behind. While they may not be noticeable or painful at first, if they are not addressed they will soon deepen. It is best to have these cavities filled quickly before more of the tooth becomes decayed.

Preventing Pits

The best way to maintain a healthy mouth is to keep a proper daily hygiene regimen. Brush twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste and floss at least once every day. Make sure to rinse your mouth with water after meals or snacks.

Having your dentist put sealants on your teeth may help prevent enamel erosion. If bruxism is a problem, your dentist will be able to make a night guard to stop your jaw clenching from damaging your teeth.

Treatment for Enamel Erosion

Unfortunately, once the enamel has been eroded it cannot be restored. To repair the damage, your dentist may suggest dental bonding or possible capping the affected tooth with a crown or veneers.

What Causes Pitted and Defective Enamel