The loss of tooth enamel due to acid erosion is a growing epidemic. A 2012 study found that 22 percent of US adults have acid erosion, which can cause tooth sensitivity, transparency, discoloration and decay.
As tough as tooth enamel is, it can be worn down. Acids from foods and drinks can dissolve the enamel and expose the inside of teeth.
Causes of dental erosion
Most people are aware that soft drinks and fruit juices are contributors to tooth decay because of the significant amount of sugar they can contain – a 600ml bottle of soft drink can contain up to 13 teaspoons of sugar. What is not so well known is that even sugar-free soft drinks, along with fruit juices, sports drinks, and so-called “energy” drinks have high acid levels, which play a major role in the development of tooth erosion.
Acid erosion can also occur as a result of your teeth’s exposure to stomach acids due to some medical conditions, including gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and bulimia.
Dry mouth (xerostomia) can accelerate the damage of erosion. Saliva plays a protective role washing away food particles, neutralizing damaging acid and re-mineralizing teeth.
What can I do to prevent dental acid erosion?
Cut down on the consumption of carbonated soft drinks, sports and energy drinks, and pure fruit juice.
- Drink water throughout the day.
- Avoid sugary snacks
- Restrict acidic beverages to main meals. Do not sip over long periods.
- Chew sugar-free gum to help produce more saliva and help re-mineralize your teeth.
- Maintain excellent oral hygiene
- Utilize prescription fluoride toothpaste (Prevident 5000)