Soft Teeth: Causes and Treatments of this Common Problem
People who believe they have “soft teeth” seem to visit the dentist more often than others as they suffer from frequent cavities and dental caries, even when sticking a good oral hygiene routine. Even brushing and flossing after every meal might not be enough to prevent you from having dental health problems. There are also those who have had relatively good dental health their entire life, but as they age or go through life changes like having children, they notice problems arise, even though their dental health habits did not change.
It’s these instances where you might think you have or someone might refer to your teeth as soft. The truth is, there really isn’t such a thing as soft teeth. People refer to their teeth as soft because they don’t consider them strong enough to stand up to the usual threats to dental health, even with the support of daily brushing and flossing.
The good news is that soft teeth are just a myth and there are things you can do to avoid problems with your teeth. The most important thing you can do is understand why your teeth are soft and why you’re facing greater dental challenges than other people who do half of what you do to protect your dental health.
What are some of the Causes of Soft Teeth?
One thing that puts your teeth at a higher risk for cavities, dental caries, damaged tooth enamel, and tooth decay, is heartburn or acid reflux. When your stomach acid flows back into your esophagus and your mouth, your tooth enamel is exposed to the substance. And the crazy thing is you can have heartburn without ever feeling the unpleasant burning sensation in your chest and throat.
As a matter of fact, the majority of people suffering from heartburn and acid reflux don’t even realize it’s happening, at least until they realize it has damaged their teeth. Acid from heartburn does more damage to your teeth than sugary food and sodas—often considered the worst offenders when it comes to tooth decay.
“There really isn’t such a thing as ‘soft teeth’. There is almost always an underlying cause why enamel is prone to erosion and tooth decay. ‘Soft teeth’ are a symptom of something else that is occurring, either systemically or externally, that causes the enamel to become weakened and allows decay to happen.”
If you suspect heartburn and acid reflux could be harming your teeth, or you’ve been told you have soft teeth, consider seeing your doctor instead of your dentist about the problem. They can help you get your stomach acid and reflux under control and ensure there is no long-term damage to your teeth from acid exposure. It might be as simple as making changes to your diet, but there are also medications available if your heartburn and acid reflux is serious enough.
Everyone is born with the ability to grow strong teeth. Teeth are made of enamel which is actually stronger than bones. Teeth are made from minerals and the only way they become weak is if the teeth are deficient in these minerals. You should be able to chew your food and keep your teeth your entire life—as long as you take good care of them.
How do your teeth lose minerals?
Put simply, from acid exposure. In addition to heartburn, teeth can also be exposed to acid from sodas, juice, coffee, and sports drinks, and from food. Understanding the risks your teeth face can help you make the best choices and maintain good dental health.
You can also cause damage to your teeth by not brushing or flossing enough. Again, this is something over that you have complete control and it’s important to take action and maintain good dental habits because you are able to control the situation.
In some cases, things that pose a risk to your teeth are not within your control. Those undergoing radiation for cancer tend to develop more dental health problems, and those with auto-immune deficiencies also struggle with keeping their teeth in good shape. This is due, in part, to these issues affecting the amount and texture of your saliva, which, in turn, affects your teeth.
Preventing Soft Teeth
The truth is there are things you can do to prevent cavities and make your soft teeth situation better. The biggest problem for teeth is exposure to bacteria. The more exposure to bacteria the harder it is to keep your mouth and teeth healthy.
What can you do to prevent cavities and keep your teeth hard and strong?
- Learn what a good dental routine looks like and incorporate it into your life. Brush at least two times per day and floss at least once.
- Make sure you know how to brush. Not using enough force or using too much force can both be dangerous. Consider investing in a rotating or spinning toothbrush because it makes it easier to get a thorough cleaning without causing any damage to your teeth.
- Also make sure you know how to floss. Many people avoid flossing because they aren’t sure how it’s done. If you don’t know, ask your dental hygienist for a tutorial during your next visit.
- Choose foods that are good for your teeth which are really just foods that are good for your overall health. Limit or avoid foods that are sugary or high in starch. Switch out sugary sodas and juices for water.
- Keep up with regular dental exams.
- If you want to help your child avoid soft teeth, do not bottle feed at night and avoid using pacifiers. Discourage thumb sucking as much as possible. Schedule a first dental visit early in life so it becomes routine and helps your child understand the importance of good oral hygiene by including tooth brushing as part of their morning and evening routines.
The truth is you don’t need to live with soft teeth. There’s no need to accept your teeth are just bad and do nothing about it. You might need to work harder than the average person to maintain good dental health, but, unfortunately, in some cases, even the most fastidious dental routine will not be enough to prevent cavities. In these rare cases, it might be necessary to get veneers to protect your natural teeth or even to replace problem teeth with dental implants that cannot get cavities.
For more information or to learn more about how to deal with soft teeth, give us a call.
Medically Fact-Checked & Written by Our Dental Editorial Team
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