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Dental Erosion

Dental erosion is the loss of tooth enamel and other tooth structure from frequent exposure to strong acids. The most common causes are:

  • Acidic drinks and foods
  • Some medicines
  • Stomach acid that regurgitates into the mouth - acid reflux

When tooth enamel is increasingly eroded and the dentine and pulp become exposed. pain and sensitivity are common symptoms. If the erosion is not limited and the tooth is not treated, abscess and loss of the tooth may occur.

Dental erosion is not the same as tooth decay, although the two conditions can happen at the same time. Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in the mouth turn sugar into acid, which can damage the tooth. Poor oral hygiene and frequent consumption of sugar are the cause of tooth decay.

Common acid sources and risk factors

The first step in treatment is to avoid, limit or manage the exposure to acids. The dentist will help you identify your acid sources and risk factors, which may include:

  • Frequent intake of acidic foods and drinks
  • Acidic medications such as chewable vitamin C tablets, some cough syrups, and some antiseptic mouthwashes
  • Some medications taken for long term treatments, such as asthma drugs
  • Dry mouth, which can be caused by various factors, including smoking, medical treatments or medical conditions
  • Medications that increase gastric reflux
  • Conditions that cause chronic regurgitation, vomiting or reflux
  • Frequent exposure to poorly balanced, highly chlorinated water in swimming pools
  • Chronic dehydration that can occur


The dentists at Drummoyne Dental Practice will choose the best treatment for you depending on various factors.

In mild cases, the dentist may recommend the use of fluoride toothpaste and a topical crème containing CPP-ACP. The dentist may also apply a fluoride varnish to your teeth to help protect the remaining enamel against further erosion.

Severely eroded teeth may need to have root canal treatment or extraction. Restorative treatments can improve the function and appearance of your teeth. Such restorative treatments may include:

  • Veneers, bonding, bleaching and composites
  • Crowns and bridges
  • The fitting and care of dentures
  • Dental implants.

However, the dentist will not perform any definitive restorative dental work while the acid source and erosion are ongoing. Instead, the dentist can help you to limit further dental erosion, for example, the dentist may treat the teeth with composite resin, which forms a physical barrier for the teeth.

Caring for your teeth

Here are some easy and effective steps to limit or prevent erosion of teeth:

  • Rinse you mouth with water immediately after consuming acidic food or drink.
  • Drink more tap water throughout the day, especially after meals
  • Avoid or restrict your intake of acidic foods or drinks
  • Delay tooth brushing for at least 30 minutes after acid exposure to allow saliva to help stabilise the tooth enamel.
  • Brush your teeth at least twice daily
  • Chew sugar-free gum to increase saliva production.


As dental erosion tends to recur, particularly if the cause is related to medicines or gastric reflux, you need to visit the dentist regularly. To check for dental erosion, our dentists may:

  • Place a spot of resin on a tooth to see if the enamel around it recedes
  • Use callipers to measure the teeth
  • Take regular impressions of your teeth with a special putty
  • Take clinical photos for comparison over time.

If you are in need of treatment or have any inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact Drummoyne Dental Practice at 9181 2226.