Did you know that the thin outer layer of your teeth, the enamel, is the hardest substance in the human body? But enamel is still susceptible to damage and loss. Once it’s gone, enamel can’t re-form, so we need to protect our enamel for the life of our teeth.
Teeth damaged as a result of acids is unfortunately a growing trend and seen more frequently in younger and younger patients.
The damage can lead to tooth sensitivity and decay as acid erodes the structure of the teeth. Enamel erodes at a slower rate than dentine and this causes a characteristic worn appearance. Unfortunately, if we clench or grind our teeth the rate of wear increases.
There are a number of ‘self help’ steps we can take to limit the harmful effect of acid erosion:
Actively reducing the amount of soft fizzy drinks and fruit juices drunk throughout the day will certainly help. Some of these can be very corrosive and ‘sports’ drinks especially can have high levels of citric acid.
Other acid food and drinks to be aware of include wine, vinegar, pickles, lemons, limes, oranges, pineapples and cranberries.
Limiting acidic foods and drinks to mealtimes only will reduce the frequency of acid attacks on the teeth. Finishing a meal with milk or cheese will help neutralise acid levels in the mouth.
Use a straw! This can further reduce the exposure and limits prolonged contact with teeth.
Cutting down on small frequent snacks, or reducing ‘grazing’ especially on fruits and sweets will help too. Mixing nuts with fruit will counteract acidity and this is also true of cheese.
Sugar free chewing gum used after eating, just for a few minutes will balance acid levels in the mouth and help produce more saliva.
It’s a good habit to wait for one hour after eating or drinking anything acid before brushing the teeth. This allows the teeth to recover the mineral content. Over enthusiastic brushing will cause further wear. Using floss and toothpicks between routine twice daily brushing can be beneficial.
We’re always very happy to offer advice when you come to see us! Contact us