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Why Can I See Through my Teeth?

There are a lot of things that are good to look through, for example windows, a windshield, clear water. However, your teeth are not one of them. Still, many people have a condition known as translucent teeth in which they can actually see through their teeth. If you have noticed that you can see through your teeth, you may be wondering what this is, how it happens, and what to do next. 

tooth with eroded enamel

For starters, translucent teeth are a fancy way of saying that the edges of your teeth are see-through. This can occur when the outer enamel starts to erode and loses its natural color. As a result, the underlying yellow or gray dentin layer becomes more visible. Since the dentin layer does not extend all the way to the edge of the tooth, however, this means that the edges will appear translucent. 

There are different things that can lead to enamel erosion and the development of translucent teeth. These things include: 

Acidic Diet

Everything you eat and drink on a daily basis contains various nutrients that affect the body. In addition to nutrients, some foods and beverages may also contain acids. This is especially true of citrus fruits and sodas, which are considered to be highly acidic. These acids ultimately lower the pH of your entire mouth, which damages your enamel. You see, when the pH of your mouth drops to 5.5, the enamel will start to demineralize, or break apart. Although the enamel can remineralize to an extent, the more damage that is done, the less likely it is that the enamel will be able to maintain itself. 

pH scale

To prevent enamel erosion from acidic foods and beverages, the best thing to do is limit your consumption of these foods and beverages. Additionally, after eating or drinking something acidic, it is also helpful to rinse your mouth with water since this can dilute the acid and decrease the amount of damage being done to your teeth. Finally, be sure to wait at least 20 minutes after eating or drinking something acidic before brushing your teeth in order to avoid eroding the enamel as you brush. 

Medical Conditions

Besides a diet of acidic foods and beverages, another factor that can contribute to translucent teeth includes certain medical conditions. These conditions include bulimia, acid reflux, heartburn, morning sickness, or other conditions that can lead to frequent vomiting. These medical conditions are especially damaging to the tooth enamel because stomach acid falls very low on the pH scale, meaning that it is highly corrosive. In some cases, Celiac’s disease can also cause development problems with tooth enamel that can prevent it from forming. 

To prevent enamel erosion from medical conditions, the best thing to do is seek treatment for the underlying condition. Oftentimes, this may mean eating fewer acidic foods, which is also recommended above. Drinking water regularly and rinsing your mouth are other ways to decrease the amount of acid and the damage being done to your enamel. 

Enamel Hypoplasia

A condition known as enamel hypoplasia can also lead to enamel erosion. However, this condition is not nearly as common as the other two causes. Enamel hypoplasia is characterized by developmental problems in the primary and permanent teeth. Teeth affected by enamel hypoplasia are generally covered in white pots, pits, or grooves on the surface. Since the enamel is already compromised to begin with, people with enamel hypoplasia are more likely to suffer from translucent teeth. If you are diagnosed with enamel hypoplasia, the best thing to do is minimize your intake of acidic foods and beverages. 

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Dr. Sanket Upadhyay

DR. SANKET, BDS

Dr. Sanket completed his Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) degree in India in 2011 and obtained his Canadian dental license in 2016. He is a member in good standing with the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, the Ontario Dental Association, and the Academy of General Dentistry. Dr. Sanket regularly pursues continuing education through dental conferences and courses to enhance his knowledge and be at the forefront of advances in dentistry.

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