Avoid Acidic Drinks, Avoid Tooth Erosion
When you visit the beach and place your feet in the sand, you notice how smooth it feels. Likewise if you were to find a rock or pebble, it too would be smooth. This is the case because the ocean waves have constantly washed over the rock, eroding any sharp edges or rough patches. When we drink acidic beverages we are simulating the same thing and over time with enough consistency, we can wash away the protective layer of enamel that keeps our teeth strong and healthy.
You may be wondering how you can completely avoid acidic drinks. The purpose of this article isn’t to convince you to banish all acidic beverages from your life and house (it probably wouldn’t go over smoothly with your family!) However, if you are constantly drinking soda or other acidic drinks, it would be smart to try and restrict your consumption to mealtimes rather than sipping these drinks throughout the day.
Some may think that if they simply brush their teeth after consuming something acidic, they can continue to drink what they want whenever. Not only is this idea false, but in fact, brushing your teeth shortly after acid has entered the mouth can aggravate the erosive power of that beverage. This is because when acid comes in contact with the surface of teeth it will demineralize the enamel and cause the affected surface to become softer than normal. When you brush your teeth it will cause it to remove this now weakened layer.
It is a better idea to wait 45 minutes to an hour before brushing. This is because of saliva. Our saliva can naturally neutralize acid, but it takes time to do so. This is another reason why restricting soda to meals is better than sipping on them all day. By sipping on a soda throughout the day, the saliva in your mouth never has time to neutralize the acid, so you effectively create an acidic environment in your mouth all day. If left unchecked, dental erosion can lead to restorative needs such as a dental crown. Here is a list of strategies to help avoid procedures like this and know if you need to visit your family dentist:
- Do you drink acidic beverages throughout the day? Try limiting such drinks to mealtimes. Carbonated sodas and energy drinks are some of the more well known acidic beverages, but even drinks such as orange juice pose a risk of tooth erosion.
- Do you have acid reflex, more commonly referred to as heartburn? If you only get this occasionally, there probably isn’t much concern, but once a day or even many times a week is a significant problem. You may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) which not only can cause severe dental erosion, but has also been linked to increased esophageal cancer risk. It’s important to visit your physician to get the right medications if needed.
- Are you or anyone you know Bulimic? By repeatedly vomiting, the natural acid produced in the stomach will eat away the back sides of an individual’s teeth.
By paying attention to these strategies and signs, you can increase the oral health of you and your family and avoid costly dental work.