Acids found in food and liquids can have a harmful effect on your teeth. Each tooth has a hard protective layer called the enamel. When acids come in contact with the enamel, the acids can make it soft. When this happens repeatedly, your enamel can wear away and can never be restored naturally. This process of softening the surface of the tooth is cold acid erosion.
The chance of getting cavities increases for those whose teeth are regularly exposed to food with high acid contents. It is impossible to make a complete list, as acidic foods are found everywhere, but the following are some of the more common acidic food and beverages: citrus fruits, beer, beef, soft drinks, coffee, fish, lamb, pasta, white flour, table salt, pork, and white bread. Even grazing of fruits and vegetables slowly throughout the day can expose your teeth to acid damage.
Bacteria in Your Mouth, Which Feeds on Sugars, Can Also Create Acid.
Lab experiments indicate that tooth enamel can begin to dissolve at pH 5.5 and below and dentin at pH 6.7.
Typical pH ranges of some common foods and drinks are listed in the table below.
The Best Way to Avoid Acid Damage:
- do not snack continuously throughout the day
- avoid holding acidic foods and drinks in your mouth or sipping drinks over long periods
- brush your teeth gently but thoroughly with a soft-bristle toothbrush
- remember that brushing right after eating acidic foods, can damage the teeth because the enamel is soft from the acid
- use low abrasion fluoride toothpaste to help provide protection from the effects of acid erosion
- rinse with water and chew sugar-free gum after eating during the day
- nuts and dairy are also good acid balancing foods
We are noticing tooth erosion in significant numbers of patients. It is a growing problem, particularly among children and adolescents. The damage is irreversible and can eventually cause discoloration, sensitivity, tooth weakening, and even tooth destruction. It may require extensive and costly repair later in life.
If you have been experiencing any of the above symptoms or you have any concerns or questions, give us a call at 847-758-0100 and we will be happy to help you.
The signs of acid erosion can be identified as early as possible so that significant tooth damage can be avoided and damaging habits can be changed!