If you notice small indentations on the incisal edges of your front teeth or on the cusps of your posterior teeth, you may be experiencing tooth cupping. Tooth cupping is an earlier indicator of tooth erosion, or the breakdown of enamel. While early tooth cupping may just be an aesthetic concern, this issue should be addressed, as tooth cupping can expose the dentin, or underlying structure of the tooth, and can leave a person at risk for sensitivity, cavities, or discomfort. Read on to learn more.
What Causes it?
There are many potential causes of tooth cupping. For instance, people that consume a lot of highly acidic foods and drinks, such as fruits, energy drinks, alcohol, and soda can be more prone to cupping. Lifestyle habits, such as tobacco usage, can lead to tooth cupping and have other adverse effects on your oral health.
Certain disorders, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and eating disorders, can introduce a lot of acids in the mouth due to bile and vomit, which can wear away enamel. And medications that often cause xerostomia, or dry mouth—such as asthma medications—can sometimes increase the risk of tooth cupping.
Lastly, some occupations may be exposed to airborne acids, like fertilizer, which can increase the risk of tooth erosion if you aren't wearing the correct safety equipment.
How Can You Prevent and Treat Tooth Cupping?
It's a good idea to make an appointment with your dentist to get to the root cause of your tooth cupping. He or she can help you make changes to your diet or help you set goals to improve habits.
For instance, your dentist might ask if you are brushing correctly after eating. Brushing your teeth right away after consuming acidic foods/drinks isn't advised since that can actually push acids deeper into the enamel. Instead, you should rinse your mouth out with water and then wait about an hour before brushing so that saliva can naturally restore your mouth to its proper pH level. If cupping is caused by medication or dry mouth, your dentist might recommend chewing sugar-free gum to improve saliva flow. He or she might also want to work with your primary care physician to find an alternative medication with fewer side effects.
Along with prevention methods, your dentist will likely go over options to correct any current tooth cupping. Tooth cupping can sometimes be corrected with filling materials or with bonding agents—the same materials chipped tooth is repaired. If a patient has severe cupping, then a dentist might recommend an inlay/onlay, crown, or even veneers.
Reach out to a general dentist today to learn more.