Tooth erosion occurs when the enamel on your teeth is worn away by acid. Usually the calcium contained in saliva will help remineralize (or strengthen) your teeth after you consume small amounts of acid, but the presence of a lot of acid in your mouth does not allow for remineralization.The weakened surface enamel is prone to wear from the abrasive action of toothpaste and tooth brushing.
Acid can come from many sources:
Carbonated drinks (even diet varieties), or Pure Fruit Juice contain a lot of acid dissolving enamel very quickly especially when you drink large amounts and or you hold the drink in your mouth for a long time.
Bulimia and Acid Reflux can cause tooth damage due to stomach acids. Medical and dental help should be sought immediately.
Who is at risk:
Athlets using Energy or Sports Drinks
can have enamel damage 3 to 11 times greater than with cola-based drinks.
Childrens with baby teeth
have a weacker and more acid-vulnerable enamel.
People with Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)
since saliva has a strong potential for neutralizing acids.
People with Gastric or Gastroesophageal Reflux ( GERD )
11 out of 20 reflux patients suffer of dental erosion.
People with healthy diet
many healthy food contain acids.
People drinking a lot of Carbonated Sodas
especially childrens and kids due to high acid concentration.
Heavy Coffee and Herbal Tea consumers since both are extremely acid.
Acidity of Food & Drinks
Acidity is measured by pH. A pH level of 7 is neutral, neither acidic nor alkaline. Many common foods and beverages have a pH level below 4, acid levels that cause tooth erosion.
ITEM APPROXIMATE pH
Tap water 7.7 – 7.0
Milk 6.4 – 6.8
Cheddar cheese 5.9 – 6.0
Bread 5.0 – 6.2
Bananas 4.5 – 5.2
Tomatoes 4.3 – 4.9
Beer 4.0 – 5.0
Ketchup 3.8 – 4.0
Root beer 3.8 – 4.0
Honey 3.7 – 4.2
Diet lemon-lime soda 3.7 – 3.8
Orange juice 3.3 – 4.2
Dill pickles 3.2 – 3.7
Lemon-lime soda 3.2 – 3.3
Blueberries 3.1 – 3.3
Apples 3.1 – 3.9
Diet cola 3.0 – 3.3
Grapefruit 3.0 – 3.8
Iced tea 2.9 – 3.0
Vinegar 2.4 – 3.4
Coffee 2.4 – 3.3
Cola 2.4 – 2.5
Sports drinks 2.3 – 4.4
Wine 2.3 – 3.8
Lemon juice 2.0 – 2.6
Battery acid 1.0
SOURCES: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, April 2007; Jain, Nihill, Sobkowski, Agustin, General Dentistry,March/April 2007
How to reduce the risk of tooth erosion:
What and How You Eat and Drink
Reduce or eliminate carbonated soft drinks
Use a straw directed to the back of mouth to reduce the teeth/acid contact.
Drink acidic drinks quickly, don’t hold them in the mouth or take sips over a long time.
Don’t suck on sour fruits, candies, or frozen fruit juices.
Right after you Eat and Drink acidic , Rinse your mouth with water.
Eat a piece of cheese to neutralize the acid.
Chew sugar-free gum to increase saliva flow in your mouth.
How You Care for Your Teeth
Don’t brush your teeth right after having an acidic food or beverage. Wait at least one hour.
Use a soft toothbrush and brush gently. Brush your teeth twice a day.
Get regular dental checkups and tell your dentist about any concerns you have.