Are you eating and drinking your teeth away?

What is dental erosion?

Dental erosion is a process whereby acids in our foods/drink or from our stomach interact with teeth and dissolve their crystalline structure. Over time this can result in wear of the surface or layers in the tooth. The low pH of the acid can make teeth softer and thereby predispose them to be worn away through normal function or tooth grinding

Our teeth are susceptible to acid erosion and wear, which can be caused by a number of common foods and drinks, including,

  • Citrus fruits
  • Vinegar, including apple cider vinegar
  • Soft and energy drinks
  • Alcoholic drinks, including beer and wine
  • And sometimes our own saliva.

It can also be a symptom of a more systemic issue with our bodies. The most common example of this is gastric reflux. In these cases, it is recommended that patients seek advice from their GP doctor to address the underlying issue.

Symptoms of dental erosion

As a result of dental erosion, there may be visual as well as changes in sensation of the tooth/teeth. For example, as the enamel or outer layer of the tooth is lost the surface of the tooth may appear smooth and shiny. The exposed layer of tooth structure underneath (the dentine) can exhibit sensitivity upon contact with hot, cold or sweet foods and drinks

Consequences of acid erosion

If acid erosion is sustained over a long period of time, it can result in substantial loss of tooth structure. As a result, extensive treatment may be required to restore the damage, such include:

  • Fillings
  • Veneers
  • Crowns
  • Root canal treatment in very severe cases
  • The most effective treatment is prevention. There are many simple things you can do to protect your teeth from erosion

Tips to prevent acid erosion and keep teeth white and healthy

  • Reduce intake of acidic drinks and foods. These can include citrus fruits, sparkling water, wine, kombucha, energy, and soft drinks to name a few
  • Reduce the frequency and time in which acidic foods or drinks come into contact with teeth. For example, having acidic drinks/foods with a meal and also reduce snacking/sipping
  • Chewing sugar-free gum after meals to increase saliva flow which helps buffer any acid
  • Eating more dairy products
  • Do not brush your teeth immediately after eating or drinking anything acidic. Try to wait for at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth as they are in a softened state immediately after acid consumption
  • Always remember to wear your night guard If you grind your teeth in your sleep
  • Regular dental visit. Your dentist will check for any signs of acid erosion

Our dentists at Syndal Dentistry can discuss with you ways to reduce this risk by changing your diet or improving your oral health. We can also discuss how to manage this problem, which might include fillings, crowns, veneers and occlusal splint (night guard) therapy.

Learn how to protect your teeth from acid wear

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