About three-quarters of pregnant women suffer from nausea and vomiting during their first trimester. This is known as morning sickness, though it can affect you all day long, not just in the morning. The condition tends to improve by the fourth or fifth month of pregnancy, but months of vomiting can have a permanent effect on your teeth. Here are three things you need to know about morning sickness and enamel erosion.
How does vomiting affect your teeth?
Vomit is incredibly acidic. It contains the foods you've eaten recently as well as gastric acid, a digestive fluid that breaks down your foods. Gastric acid has a pH level of 2.0. To put that number into perspective, water has a neutral pH of 7 while battery acid has a very acidic pH of 1.0. When the very strong acids from your stomach come into prolonged contact with your teeth, they start to eat away at your enamel, the outer layer of your teeth. This is called enamel erosion, and it's a big problem because your enamel doesn't grow back.
How do you know your enamel is eroded?
Your enamel protects the sensitive tissues inside your teeth, so when it begins to erode, you will feel pain and sensitivity in your teeth. You may find that drinking a hot coffee or biting into ice cream hurts your teeth when it never did before. This sensitivity will get worse as time goes on, and your enamel becomes more eroded by vomit.
You may also notice that your teeth aren't as white as they used to be. The dentin, the sensitive tissue underneath your enamel, is yellow, and as more of it becomes exposed, your teeth will become yellow and discolored.
How can you prevent enamel erosion?
It may seem like common sense to brush your teeth right after you vomit, but doing that can actually damage your teeth. According to one study, brushing right after acid has come in contact with your teeth can push the acid further into your teeth, which can lead to more damage. Instead, rinse your mouth out with water, and wait to brush your teeth for about half an hour.
If you're suffering from morning sickness, your teeth could be in danger. Make sure to rinse your mouth after you vomit instead of brushing your teeth immediately to prevent erosion. If you think your enamel is already eroded, see your dentist like the one from Gentle Breeze Dental right away.Share