The enamel that covers the outermost layer of each tooth is the strongest substance in the body. It is intended to defend the softer dentin, tubules, vessels, and nerves that lie beneath the surface. Because we bite and chew all sorts of hard and chewy foods throughout our lifetime, we quickly develop the sense that our teeth are, for the most part, pretty indestructible. More and more, dentists and their patients are realizing there are more hazards to tooth structure than had been imagined. Today, one of the prevalent problems facing children and adults is erosion.
Research has discovered that enamel can be eroded, worn away, by acid, much in the same way that the natural landscape can disintegrate beneath the force of the wind, rain, and other elements. Where does this acid come from, and what can be done to safeguard tooth enamel? We’re about to take a look . . .
How Diet can Erode Teeth
Humans have progressively moved toward a more processed diet. Even our healthy foods, like salads, are covered in dressings that are loaded with acidic ingredients. Perhaps the biggest culprits of tooth erosion, though, are carbonated beverages like soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks. These beverages have been measured for acidity, and fall in line just a few points short of battery acid.
The Sad Truth
One of the most unfortunate aspects of tooth erosion is that a large percentage of the patients who are troubled by this condition are children. The cause is often fruit juice and sports drinks that are offered to children and teens as an alternative to the sugary soda that causes cavities. Parents, in trying to do the right thing, actually fall into the pit of misinformation.
Erosion, like cavities, is a problem that can be prevented with awareness and good habits. It may not be necessary to completely change your dietary habits, but there are certain modifications that can preserve the life of your teeth.
- Drink more water! For flavor, add lemon, a citrus that is more alkaline than acidic.
- Rinse with water after drinking or eating anything acidic. Rinse only! Brushing enamel that has been softened by acidic ingredients can hasten erosion rather than combat it.
- Brush with fluoride toothpaste that has the ADA seal of approval.
- Consume calcium-rich dairy and vegetables, or take a calcium supplement to encourage strong bones and teeth.
- See your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.
For a visit with your friendly family dentist in Succasunna, call 973-328-1225.