24 / 05 / 2023
Tooth Erosion, Are You At Risk?
Many people consume fizzy or sugary drinks and acidic foods every day but have no idea those 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. Your dentist will tell you that in many cases that it is not what you eat and drink, but rather how you consume it that matters most.
What is tooth erosion?
Tooth erosion is the loss of tooth structure caused by the weakening of dental enamel, which is the strongest substance in the human body. Enamel is the thin, white outer layer of the teeth. When the enamel is weakened, it exposes the underlying dentin which is darker in color, causing your teeth to appear more yellow.
What causes tooth erosion?
Tooth erosion may occur when the acids in the foods and beverages you eat and drink weaken the enamel on your teeth. Typically the calcium contained in saliva will help remineralize (strengthen) your teeth after you consume foods or drinks that contain some acid. However, the presence of a lot of acid in your mouth does not allow for remineralization to happen.
Acid can come from many sources, including the following:
*Drinking fizzy or fruit drinks. All soft drinks (even diet/light varieties) contain a lot of acid and are capable of disolving enamel on your teeth. Bacteria thrive on sugar and produce high acid levels that can eat away at enamel.
*Eating sour foods or sweets. All those sour treats may taste great, but they can be acidic to your teeth. Sour and fruity sweeties, such as Starburst and Skittles, are the worst for your teeth since they contain everything known to ruin enamel.
*Dry mouth/too little saliva. Saliva helps prevent decay by neutralizing acids and washing away leftover food in your mouth.
*Acid reflux brings stomach acids up to the mouth, where the acids can erode enamel.
*Eating disorders/binge drinking. These conditions can cause tooth damage because they frequently expose teeth to stomach acids.
*Wear and tear. Brushing your teeth too vigorously or grinding your teeth at night can erode enamel.
What are the symptoms of tooth erosion?
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 foods or drinks
Visible cracks in teeth
What you can do to prevent tooth erosion?
Reduce or eliminate your consumption of fizzy drinks; they are not good for any part of you! Instead, sip water, milk, or tea.
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. Besides, some of us can’t possibly refuse an ice cold G&T after a long day at work…
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. This will allow the acidity level in the mouth to get back to normal between meals.
After consuming highly acidic food or drinks, rinse with water to dilute the acids. And DO NOT brush your teeth straight away, wait at least 30 mins to an hour to allow the acidity to wash away; otherwise you will be literally rubbing the acid into your teeth.
Chew sugar-free gum to produce more saliva, as this helps your teeth remineralize.
And of course, follow your hygienist’s advice and keep up very thorough home care routine to keep your teeth strong and happy.