Erosion is the loss of tooth enamel caused by acid attack. Enamel is the hard, protective coating of the tooth, which protects the sensitive dentine underneath. When the enamel is worn away, the dentine underneath is exposed, which may lead to pain and sensitivity and teeth can gradually appear shorter as they wear.
This occurs when the flow of saliva to the mouth decreases. This can be caused by various common medications including blood pressure tablets and sleeping tablets. Dry mouth can also occur due to salivary gland disease or age related changes to the salivary glands. Without enough saliva, food particles are not cleaned away properly and the protective function of saliva is lost.
There are more than 300 cases of cancer of the mouth (oral cavity and pharynx) reported in Ireland every year. These cancers are more common in men than in women. Regular consumption of alcohol and smoking are two of the main cause of mouth cancer. A long-term white or red patch in the mouth or on the tongue, or an ulcer that has not healed after two weeks are suspicious and should be checked by a dentist.