Many people consume carbonated beverages, fruit juices and highly acidic foods every day but probably don’t realize that they could be harming their teeth!
The acids in the foods we consume can wear away tooth enamel making teeth sensitive and discoloured. This tooth wear due to acids is called "acid erosion".
What causes tooth erosion?
Tooth erosion occurs when the enamel on your teeth is worn away by acid. The longer there is a high acidity level in your mouth, the more prone you are to tooth erosion.
Normally after you consume acidic foods, the saliva in your mouth starts to neutralize the acid. Also the calcium in your saliva will also help remineralize your teeth after you consume small amounts of acid.
If you continually consume acidic foods all day long, such as sipping on carbonated beverages all day, the acid level in your mouth remains high and the amount of enamel demineralization increases.
What are the sources of acid?
Carbonated drinks, fruit juices including eating oranges, lemons or grape fruits.
Certain diseases such as bulimia and acid reflux can cause erosion from stomach acids.
What are the signs of tooth erosion?
Sensitivity: since the protective enamel is wearing away, you may get some pain when consuming hot, cold or sweet food and drinks.
Discolouration: as enamel wears teeth will become more yellow.
Rounded Teeth: your teeth may develop a rounded look.
Transparency: your front teeth may appear transparent near the biting edges.
Cupping: small dents may appear on the chewing surfaces of your teeth.
What can be done to prevent tooth erosion?
- Reduce or eliminate drinking carbonated drinks. Instead drink water, milk, tea or coffee but skip the sugar.
- Drink acidic drinks quickly and use a straw so that the liquid is pushed to the back of the mouth.
- Don’t swish acidic drinks or hold them in your mouth for long periods of time.
- After consuming high acidic foods or drinks, rinse with water to neutralize the acids, and wait 1 hour before brushing your teeth.
- Chew sugar free gum to produce more saliva so your teeth can remineralize.
- Brush with a soft toothbrush and make sure you are using a fluoridated toothpaste.
- If you have Bulimia or acid reflux consult your medical doctor for treatment.