Tooth Erosion

Tooth & acid erosion symptoms & signs

A relatively new problem is becoming apparent in dentistry. This is ‘wear’ of teeth due to chemical erosion. This often results in sensitivity of the necks of the teeth to cold and sweet things.

Another common area of tooth surface damage is the inner surfaces of upper teeth in teenagers. Chemical erosion is the result of acid softening the enamel.

If the teeth are brushed with an abrasive toothpaste, the problem is made worse. The result is that the “softened” enamel is often “spat” down the sink! Read our tips to preserve tooth enamel.

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The main types of acid which are dangerous for your teeth are:

  • Citric acid
    lemons, grapefruit, oranges
  • Lactic acid
    yoghurt, fromage frais, cottage cheese
  • Phosphoric acid
    Coke, Pepsi, diet Coke, diet Pepsi
  • Acetic acid
    vinegar as in oil and vinegar dressing
  • Malic acid
    apples, grapes
  • Oxalic acid
    rhubarb

It must be remembered that fresh fruit juices are just as dangerous for teeth as fruit juice mixtures e.g., Five Alive. More diet tips for healthy teeth and gums.

Why is this happening now?

Many of these fruits and juices formerly were only available in season. With refrigeration, these are now available all year round and are doing phenomenal damage to teeth.

An exaggerated emphasis on slimming for ‘health’ reasons has not helped.

Preventive measures:

  • Limit the number of episodes when acidic foods or drinks are taken
    Try to eat all your fruit at one time of the day.
  • DON’T clean teeth after acidic foods or drinks
    If possible, rinse your mouth with milk or a fluoride mouthwash after eating or drinking acidic foods.
  • Drink fruit juices through a wide bore straw
    This helps to get the acid past the teeth, and away from the mouth.
  • Try to avoid diet drinks
    If you have them, drink them through a wide bore straw or drink them very quickly to reduce acid contact time.

Note
If tooth surface loss occurs despite no observed dietary causes, then we will guide you further. There are other causes of tooth damage such as medical conditions e.g. acid reflux or anorexia, and chronic alcohol intake.

 Top tips to prevent erosion

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