What is Dental Erosion? Symptoms, Causes, Prevention, and Treatment


Dental erosion is a process of wearing away the tooth surface by acid, which dissolves the tooth enamel and the dentine. There are various types of dental erosion. Food-based tooth erosion is caused by food and beverages that will dissolve the tooth's structure when they are acidic enough. Gastric regurgitation also produces acid that will dissolve the tooth surface. Getting exposed to environmental substances in the air can also lead to dental erosion. Even though rare, some individuals also have acidic saliva that dissolves the dentin surface. When the source is not known, then it is called idiopathic.


What are the symptoms of Dental/Tooth erosion?

  • Severe, painful sensitivity of the tooth that can be observed while eating certain foods like sweets and consuming hot or cold foods and drinks 
  • Discoloration of the teeth
  • Noticeable cracks and chips on the surface of teeth
  • Smooth, shiny surfaces on the teeth, a sign of mineral loss
  • Cupping


What are the different dental erosion causes?


Dietary dental erosion

There are two primary sources of mouth acid, dietary and gastric. This acid will dissolve the tooth calcium. Beverages having high acid content include carbonated drinks and citrus-dependent drinks. Wine can erode your teeth. 

The degree of tooth erosion caused by acidic beverages depends on the number of beverages you consume. Food high in acid content mainly includes citrus fruits, vinegar, and pickles. When you consume food and drinks with a pH value less than 5.7, it can cause dental erosion.

Some of the familiar sources of dietary dental erosion are

  • The citric acid in soft drinks
  • Acidic fruit juice
  • Fruits
  • Tooth erosion caused by regurgitation
  • Acidic sugar-free drinks


During digestion, the acid produced in the stomach is strong enough to dissolve all food, including teeth and bone. When the stomach content is regurgitated, the acid comes in contact with teeth. Any condition that leads to repeat vomiting or regurgitation leads to dental erosion.

People suffering from diseases like GERD, eating disorders, and anorexia nervosa are most likely to suffer tooth erosion. GERD is ubiquitous, and an average of 7% of total adults suffer from acid reflux. The leading cause of GERD is stomach acid. Regurgitation produces shallow lesions, lost enamel, and many more things.

Tooth erosion caused by saliva: Saliva plays the role of buffer in dental decay, which lowers the pH when consuming acidic drinks and food. Acidic foods and beverages significantly affect patients suffering from hyposalivation because of primary xerostomia, radiotherapy gland damage, etc. In some cases, saliva itself leads to dental erosion. It is because the pH of the saliva becomes acidic due to the use of some medications. When dentin is exposed to any abrasion, dentin gets dissolved, showing cupping erosion on the teeth's occlusal surface.

Environmental cause of dental erosion

Some possible sources of dental erosion due to the environment are exposed to the chlorinated swimming pool water. Other environmental factors include battery plant workers and miners, mainly working around the acidic fumes.


How to stop tooth erosion? What are the treatment options?

The answer to this mainly relies on the kind of dental erosion. Here are a few dental erosion treatment options for treating tooth erosion

  • Treating the underlying disease or medical disorder
  • Modify your eating habits. Choose food and beverage that are less acidic.
  • Reduce abrasion force on your teeth
  • Alter your lifestyle 
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Rinse your mouth with water after consumption of acidic drinks and foods
  • Drinking through a straw
  • Making use of a re-mineralizing agent, like sodium fluoride solution in the form of fluoride mouth rinse, and lozenge
  • Drink milk and consume dairy products
  • Make use of neutralizing agents such as antacid tablets.
  • Application of dentin bonding agents to areas where dentin is exposed can also help treat dental erosion.


How to repair severe tooth erosion?

Various studies have found that ultra-thin occlusal veneers are among the best alternatives for dental erosion treatment—some of the reporting cases of full mouth rehabilitation with veneers. 

Bonding is another procedure where the tooth-colored material is applied to your stained or damaged teeth. The resin covers up the whole discoloration and protects your tooth. You can consider tooth bonding when enamel erosion has led to front teeth discoloration.

Prevention of Tooth Erosion

You can also prevent dental erosion by following some tips.

  • In oral healthcare, you can use fluoride toothpaste, gel, desensitizing toothpaste, and mouthwash. When acidic beverages or foods cause dental erosion, patients can limit acidic food and drink to mealtimes, stop taking carbonated drinks, and use a straw. One can refer to a psychologist when caused by regurgitation, alcohol addiction, and an eating disorder.
  • Some studies have also shown that some milk and yogurt products have a preventive effect against erosion. It is because of the calcium and phosphate content. Fluoride also results in enamel remineralization.


Visit your nearest orthodontist, or you may also opt to speak to a Dentist at India’s Largest Dental Network,  MyDentalPlan to learn more about dental erosion treatment and prevention. They have a network of skilled dentists who can meet your varied oral healthcare requirements.




About the Author:

Suprithi Choudhary, M.Pharm (Pharmacology) Medical Content writer

Suprithi is a Pharma Professional working as a medical content writer and previously worked as a Research Scientist and Senior Research Analyst


  • C.M Academy
  • Attended the Panjab University- Chandigarh, Pharma post-graduate in Pharmacology

Special thanks to Dr Deepak Kulkarni, a dental surgeon with over 23 years of experience who proofread this blog. He graduated from the H.K.E's Dental College, Gulbarga, and has certifications in ACHS International Accreditation Education Plan; Advanced Rotary Endodontic - Restorative Continuum; and Leadership, Team Building and Customer Service Leadership from the Oscar Murphy International.


  • all about dental erosion
  • severe tooth condition
  • causes of tooth erosion
  • effects on acids on tooth
  • dental erosion symptoms
  • dental erosion treatment