Are acidic foods and drinks destroying your tooth enamel?
Acid erosion is caused by the chemical action of acids on the teeth that are not of bacterial origin. The most common cause cause of erosion is by acidic food and drink with a ph value below 5.0, with acidic liquids such as fruit juices, carbonated drinks and alcoholic beverages such as wine sited as being a major factor.
Research published in the British Dental Journal found that more than one in eight youngsters were consuming 22 cans of cola every week, with a further one in ten drinking high levels of other carbonated drinks.
With a rise of 135% in the consumption of carbonated soft drinks between 1977 – 2001 we are finding that our modern eating habits are wreaking havoc upon out dental enamel.
The early signs of acid erosion include:
A change in tooth colour. This can be noticed either as a transparent cutting edge of a tooth or as a yellowish tint to the teeth.
The teeth will appear to be broad and round and the gaps between the teeth will become larger.
There can be pain when eating hot, cold or sweet foods. This is due to the enamel having been eroded away exposing the sensitive dentin.
Any fillings can seem to be lifting out of the tooth, due to the surrounding tooth eroding away.
The most severe sign of acid erosion is cracking.
Dental erosion has been named as the most common chronic disease between children aged between 5 – 17 so it is imperative to teach our children the effects of acid erosion early in their lives
While a parent has control upon their child’s eating habits they must encourage good habits that may protect their teeth in future years.
One simple method to reduce acid erosion is to rinse the mouth with water after a meal, this can neutralise the pH in the mouth and reduce the effects of the acid.
Other preventative measures are of course to reduce the intake of acidic drinks. This can improve overall dental health with the reduction in sugars and acids and help prevent other health issues such as childhood obesity.
Drinking milk, eating other dairy products, drinking through a straw can also help to reduce acid erosion.
Any use of toddler cups with lids should never be used with carbonated or high-sugar drinks as they can lead to catastrophic results on young teeth.
Although acid erosion is often due to exterior influences such as food and drink it can often be a result of an underlying medical condition such as bulimia. Regular vommitting can cause the stomach acids to have the same erosive effect on the teeth.
Whilst regular brushing is vitally important brushing immediately after an acid attack can further erode teeth. The acid acts to soften the enamel of the teeth and brushing while this is the case can lead to the enamel being literally brushed away. It is advised that you should wait at least half an hour after eating or drinking to prevent this.
Most importantly we have to be aware that what we eat and drink can have a long lasting effect on our smile and making a few choices in our lifestyle can help protect your teeth for years to come.
The treatments available at Windsor Centre for Advanced Dentistry are substantial. The areas covered are:
- Dental Implants
- Restorative Dentistry
- Aesthetic Dentistry
- Cosmetic Dentistry
For more information please Contact Us.