Are you at risk for enamel erosion?
Are you at risk for enamel erosion?
Many people consume carbonated or sugary drinks and acidic foods every day but have no idea those beverages may be harming their teeth, making them vulnerable to tooth erosion. The acid in the foods we eat and drink can cause tooth enamel to wear away, making your teeth sensitive and discolored.
Tooth erosion is the loss of tooth structure caused by the demineralization of dental enamel, which is the strongest substance in the human body, which protects your teeth .When the enamel is weakened and erodes away, it exposes the underlying soft dentin, causing your teeth to decay quickly.
Acid can come from many sources, including the following:
· Drinking carbonated or fruit drinks. All soft drinks (even diet varieties) contain a lot of acid and are capable of dissolving enamel on your teeth. Bacteria thrive on sugar and produce high acid levels that can eat away at enamel.
· Most over the counter mouthwashes have acids added for shelf life stability. Read the labels!
· Eating sour foods or candies. All those sour candies may taste great, but these treats can be acidic to your teeth. Sour and fruity candy, such as Starburst and Skittles, are the worst for your teeth since these candies have a low pH value, which is known to ruin enamel.
· Low saliva volume. Saliva helps prevent decay by neutralizing acids with buffers in your saliva as well as washing away leftover food in your mouth.
· Acid reflux disease. Acid reflux, or GERD, brings stomach acids up to the mouth, where the acids can erode enamel.
· Bulimia or binge drinking. These conditions can cause tooth damage because they frequently expose teeth to stomach acids or acidic beverages.
· Wear and tear. Brushing your teeth too vigorously or grinding your teeth at night can erode enamel.
Acid wear may lead to serious dental problems. When your tooth enamel erodes, your teeth become more vulnerable to cavities and decay, and you may begin noticing the following symptoms:
· Severe sensitivity or tooth pain when consuming hot, cold, or sugary foods or drinks
· Tooth discoloration
· Rounded teeth
· Transparent teeth
· Visible cracks in teeth
· Cupping, or dents, that show up on the biting or chewing surfaces of the teeth
What you can do to prevent tooth erosion
· Reduce or eliminate altogether your consumption of carbonated drinks. Instead, sip water, milk, or unflavored seltzer, which is slightly acidic but not too bad.
· If you must consume acidic drinks, drink them quickly and be sure to use a straw so that the liquid is pushed to the back of the mouth. Don’t swish them around or hold them in your mouth for a long period of time.
· Instead of snacking on acidic foods throughout the day, we suggest eating these foods just during meal times in order to minimize the amount of time the acid makes contact with your teeth.
· After consuming highly acidic food or drinks, rinse with water to neutralize the acids.
· Chew sugar-free gum to produce more saliva, as this helps your teeth remineralize.
· Brush with a soft toothbrush and be sure your toothpaste contains fluoride. It’s best NOT to brush for 30 minutes after ingesting acidic foods or beverages, waiting until your saliva buffers your mouth to a neutral state. Otherwise, you are actually doing an acid wash on your teeth with the brush.
It’s important to know that the majority of dental problems, such as tooth erosion, do not become visible or painful until they are advanced. And, unfortunately, serious oral issues are painful and expensive to treat. Regular cleanings and checkups at least twice a year is the best way to prevent this common problem.
For more information, you can contact Dr. Michael Krochak at
NYC Smile Spa
30 E. 60th St., Rm 1201
New York, NY 10022
Relax and smile!