What do my eating habits have to do with tooth erosion?March 10, 2020 12:51 pm
We all know that healthy eating and drinking is important for the health of our bodies – but what about our teeth? You might be surprised by some of the kinds of foods and drinks that are guilty of causing dental damage. Here we give you a quick guide to tooth erosion.
- What is tooth erosion?
Tooth erosion affects the enamel – the outer protective layer of your teeth. It’s there to protect the soft inner dentine inside, and it’s very hard –in fact, it’s the strongest material your body has! Unfortunately, however, tooth enamel can be affected by all manner of foods and drink.
- The causes
While most of us are aware that sugar is bad news for teeth, there’s other, more unexpected culprits as well. Acid erosion can be caused by any foods or drink that are acidic – such as citrus fruits, fruit juices, and carbonated drinks – all of which have a pH level below 5.5. Even diet fizzy drinks are acidic!
The problems start when acid comes into contact with tooth enamel. This softens the enamel, and demineralization starts. The mouth has its own natural defenses, and in normal circumstances, saliva does the job of re-mineralizing teeth and restoring the enamel to its normal state. However, if you are eating and drinking acidic foods very frequently, then the mouth doesn’t get a chance to naturally recover. The enamel is softened, and over time, bit by bit, it is brushed away.
- How do I know if I have tooth erosion?
Once the tooth enamel is worn away, you may feel sensitivity or pain when eating or drinking hot or cold food and drink. This is because the substance is reaching the inner dentin and nerves through the holes in your tooth enamel. Dentine is a darker yellow, so once it’s exposed, your teeth may look a bit darker. You may even see hollows in your teeth.
- How to avoid it
Maintaining a healthy diet and a good dental hygiene routine is key in avoiding tooth erosion. Try and drink simple water wherever possible – it has a neutral pH and neutralizes anything else acidic in your mouth, too. Be careful with what else you eat and drink. An easy tip is – if it tastes sour, fizzy, or both – then moderate how much you consume, and try and keep it to mealtimes. Avoid sugary and processed foods, and if you do have them, make sure you drink water to top up saliva levels. You could even have a little cheese, milk, or another dairy product, as this helps neutralize mouth acid.
It’s a good idea to chew sugar-free gum after a meal, to help stimulate saliva production, neutralize the mouth pH level, and protect your teeth. if you do have acidic food or drink, wait an hour before brushing your teeth. This is to give your tooth enamel a chance to recover, so you don’t literally brush it away!
- Tooth erosion treatment
Sometimes mild tooth erosion doesn’t need any treatment at all – just a healthier diet and careful brushing with a fluoride toothpaste. However, if you think you are suffering from erosion, it’s best to visit your dentist such as Drs. Nicolas & Asp. They will be able to advise if any treatment is needed. Unfortunately, enamel erosion is permanent. But, a dentist can perform enamel erosion repair with a filling or a veneer if necessary. Often the dentist can help prevent any further damage too. They might suggest a fluoride mouthwash or even a fluoride varnish applied to teeth. This helps the remineralizing process, so your teeth are naturally restored. Lastly, do make sure you see your Drs. Nicolas &Asp dentist every six months. That’s always the best way to spot and treat any tooth erosion as early on as possible.
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