Your teeth are covered by a hard outer layer called enamel. Its job is to protect teeth from daily wear and tear. Enamel is extremely strong, but acids will eventually erode it. When that occurs, protection for the underlying dentin layer is compromised. Microscopic tubules in the dentin then allow sweet, cold, and hot foods and beverages to irritate nerves in the teeth.
What causes this sensitive situation?
• Excessive consumption of soft drinks and fruit juices
which have a high acid content.
• Eating lots of sour food or candies.
• Poor oral hygiene. Harmful bacteria thrive on food
debris (especially starch and sugar) left in the mouth,
and excrete enamel-eating acids.
• Chronic dry mouth – saliva helps to neutralize acids
and flush food debris.
• Acid reflux or heartburn allows stomach acids to enter
• Frequent vomiting such as binge drinking, alcoholism,
• Some medications (like aspirin) and supplements
(vitamin C) if taken regularly or in large amounts.
• Aggressive brushing with a hard toothbrush or overly
• Bruxism – grinding and clenching your teeth together.
Your best defense against enamel erosion is a healthy diet, good home oral hygiene, and regular dental visits. Fluoride or remineralizing toothpastes or mouth rinses can also help to strengthen teeth.