Two types of tooth damage—abrasion and erosion—can affect the tooth enamel. Abrasion is caused by something rubbing against the teeth. Brushing your teeth with a hard-bristled toothbrush, poking your teeth with toothpicks, or scraping your teeth when removing retainers or partial dentures are possible causes of tooth enamel abrasion. By contrast, erosion occurs when the tooth enamel is overexposed to dietary acids from certain foods and drinks, or acids in the stomach that are regurgitated. (1)
Stomach Acids and Tooth Enamel Erosion
Overexposure to stomach acid is among the possible causes of tooth enamel erosion. Conditions that promote this problem include:
- Bulimia: The repeated vomiting that characterizes bulimia exposes the teeth to stomach acid.
- Acid Reflux: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), acid reflux, or heartburn can contribute to tooth enamel erosion.
- Binge Drinking: Frequent bouts of binge drinking that lead to vomiting put stomach acid in frequent contact with tooth enamel. (2)