Online Dental Education Library

Our team of dental specialists and staff strive to improve the overall health of our patients by focusing on preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions associated with your teeth and gums. Please use our dental library to learn more about dental problems and treatments available. If you have questions or need to schedule an appointment, contact us.

Erosion and Your Teeth

Your tooth's enamel-the white looking outer covering of the tooth crown-may be tough, but it needs your help to protect it from acid erosion. With proper oral hygiene and a diet low in acidic foods you can prevent acid erosion.

Acid erosion occurs when acids wear away at the tooth's enamel. When erosion occurs, it exposes the tooth's inner layers, which increases sensitivity and makes the tooth more suseptible to tooth decay.

The Causes of Acid Erosion

Today's diets include many food and drinks that contain acid and can erode teeth. Acid erosion can be caused by all of the following:

  • Excessive soft drink consumption, espeically with beveragest hat contain high levels of phosphoric and other citric acids.
  • Water mixed with lemon or other citrus fruits
  • Sports and energy drinks
  • Plaque
  • Fruit juices and drinks
  • Diets that are high in sugar and starches
  • Medical factors that damage enamel, including acid erosion (caused by conditions such as bulimia and acid reflux disease) and xerostomia (dry mouth)

Damage to the enamel also can be caused by environmental factors, including friction (bruxism/griding) and abrasion (brushing too hard).

Signs of Acid Erosion

Unfortunately, tooth enamel can only remineralize to a certain degree. That's why it's very important to pay close attention to your diet and teeth and note if anything looks or feels different. If you have any of these symptoms, let  us know right away. Dr. Lerner may also discover the following changes when examining your teeth during a regular check up visit.

  • Tooth sensitivity that ranges from mild to severe when exposed to certainhot or cold foods or drinks
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Tooth transparency
  • Cracks and chips on the edges of teeth

How Can Acid Erosion Be Prevented?

It important to brush and floss and use a Waterpik daily as well as see us, at minimum, every 6 months for reular check-ups and cleanings. If acid erosion is a concern we may recommend the following:

  • Eliminate or reduce highly acidic foods and drinks from your diet.
  • Avoid brushing immediately after consuming acid foods or drinks since they soften enamel making it easier to damage by the abrasiveness of brushing. So wait at least 30 minutes.
  • Rinse your mouth with water after consuming acidic foods.
  • Avoid sugary snacks.
  • Chew sugar free gum between meals which increases salivary flow.
  • Drink water throughout the day.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste.

Measuring the Acid in Foods and Drinks

Acidity is measured by pH. A pH level of 7 is considered neutral. Many common foods and beverages have a pH below 4 which is highly acidic. Here are some examples:

ITEM                                                                             Approximate pH

Tap Water............................................................................7.7 - 7.0

Milk........................................................................................6.4 -  6.8

Bread....................................................................................5.0 - 6.2

Bananas...............................................................................4.5 - 5.2

Tomatoes..............................................................................4.3 - 4.9

Ketchup................................................................................3.8 - 4.0

Orange Juice........................................................................3.3 - 4.2

Diet Cola................................................................................3.0 - 3.3

Coffee.....................................................................................2.4 -3.3

Sports Drinks.........................................................................2.3 - 4.4

Lemon Aid..............................................................................2.0 - 2.6

Iced Tea...................................................................................2.9 - 3.0

Battery Acid...................................................................................1.0

 

We hope you found reading about Acid Erosion helpful!  At Summerhill Dental Excellence we care about ALL of you! PREVENTION is key. Don't forget to schedule your routine cleaning appointment!
    HAPPY FALL!