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Tooth enamel is a hard, white substance that covers the crown of your tooth. It protects teeth from decay and infection. When enamel is damaged, teeth can look transparent or translucent.
Celiac disease is a chronic autoimmune disorder caused by consuming gluten. It affects an estimated 2 million Americans.1
People with celiac disease experience a wide range of gastrointestinal symptoms. Celiac disease also affects dental health and may cause enamel coating to become translucent. People with this condition often have translucent teeth.
Enamel hypoplasia is a genetic condition that can cause tooth decay and premature tooth loss. It occurs due to a lack of tooth mineralization, which thins the enamel. Enamel hypoplasia leaves these areas susceptible to caries (tooth decay) and fractures.2
A diet high in acidic food and beverages, such as sodas and citrus fruits, can harm teeth. Acidic erosion is where acids wear down teeth surfaces. This weakens and damages the enamel.3
The measure of acidity in foods and drinks is called the pH level. Loss of tooth enamel happens when the pH level is under 4.0.
For comparison, water has a pH level of 7.0. Many sour sweets, for example, have a pH level of 3.0 and under. These can weaken and wear away tooth enamel, leading to translucence. 4
Saliva neutralizes acids from foods and beverages. Xerostomia is a condition where the saliva does not flow well. Various factors can cause this, such as:
Experts refer to xerostomia as dry mouth syndrome. Dry mouth syndrome can lead to malnutrition, dehydration, tooth decay, and gum disease.
People with this condition may also experience cracked lips and dry skin. It can cause serious problems in the body that are not easily visible.6
Acid reflux is a disorder in which highly corrosive stomach acid flows into the esophagus. This causes heartburn and difficulty swallowing. An abnormal motion of the lower esophageal sphincter also causes acid reflux.7
Enamel may wear down over time due to frequent exposure to stomach acid, which the stomach uses to break down food. If left untreated, acid reflux can develop into gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a more severe version of acid reflux.
Brushing too hard isn’t immediately noticeable, but over time it will cause enamel erosion. Brushing too aggressively or with a hard-bristled toothbrush can still damage teeth, and does not necessarily make your teeth cleaner.
Frequent vomiting, such as that caused by morning sickness or eating disorders, can expose acid to your teeth. When this happens, the highly corrosive stomach acid wears away the tooth’s surface. This causes enamel erosion.
Tooth erosion typically occurs when acids dissolve tooth enamel. Erosion causes irreversible loss of the outer tooth shell. Tooth damage can happen when there’s no enamel left to protect it.
Signs of dental erosion include sensitive teeth, yellowing or darkening as the dentin underneath the enamel becomes visible, and transparency along the biting edges.
You cannot prevent some causes of translucent teeth. This includes celiac disease and enamel hypoplasia. However, you can manage other conditions to prevent the enamel from thinning. Here are some tips:
You may also be able to remineralize your teeth using specialized products from your dentist. Tooth remineralization is a process where minerals, such as calcium and phosphate, replace the tooth enamel.
You can remineralize your teeth through various methods. These include:
Tooth remineralization is a process that helps prevent cavities and restores shine to teeth.8
Fixing translucent teeth is not always possible because enamel loss is irreversible.
Once enamel is lost, it will not reform.9
There are ways to prevent enamel from eroding further. Some treatments can even restore the appearance of teeth. Most of the time, restoring the teeth is a purely cosmetic issue. However, enamel loss can sometimes lead to complications such as tooth decay.
Some natural remedies you can try to reduce damage to your teeth include:
There are also professional treatments that can restore the look of your teeth:
Enamel erosion is a condition in which the protective layer of your teeth weakens. Acidic food and drink typically cause this condition, but underlying issues, such as celiac disease or acid reflux, can also cause it.
Translucent-appearing teeth are an early sign of enamel erosion. It is often an early indication of future tooth decay and gum disease. Therefore, visit your dentist for treatment as soon as possible if you have translucent teeth.
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