When you think of the most important aspect of maintaining dental health, what comes to mind?
You may think that avoiding sugars ranks at the top of the list. The truth is, acidic foods and beverages can have just as negative an impact as sugary consumables. High levels of acidity can be very damaging to tooth enamel, especially if your mouth is at a high acid level for extended periods of time. This effect is called acid erosion or acid wear.
To best understand acid erosion, it’s important to know the basics as they pertain to the two main parts of teeth: enamel and dentin. Your teeth are made up of dentin on the inside and have a smooth enamel coating on the outside. Enamel is much thinner than dentin, but is very hard and not sensitive to hot and cold feelings. Dentin has a yellowish appearance, which can show through on those who have been exposed to acid erosion over time. Dentin is much more sensitive to hot and cold feelings.
If you're experiencing sensitivity in your teeth or noticing a yellow hue to your smile, it's likely you’ve had some dental erosion. How can you tell if acid wear is actually the problem? The professionals at South University Dental have the expertise to gauge whether acidic foods and beverages are a contributing factor.
Unfortunately, tooth enamel is something that cannot simply self-repair or grow back once it wears down. This means you should do whatever you can to keep the enamel intact and curb the consequences of acid wear.
At South University Dental, our team knows it’s virtually impossible to avoid eating or drinking acidic things completely. However, there are a few steps you can take to make sure you're not allowing the acid to sit in your mouth for an extended period of time.
Your body produces the most saliva while you're eating meals. Saliva will help to clear the acid out of your mouth and set your mouth's pH levels back into balance. If you enjoy acidic foods and drinks as a snack, there is a larger chance you'll retain the acids within your mouth, risking acid erosion.
A simple drink of water not only is beneficial for your general health, but it can also work wonders for your teeth. Water rinses acid out of your mouth, making it a great way to curtail enamel wear. As you finish an especially acidic snack or drink, don’t forget to chase it down with a drink of water. Your teeth will thank you in the long-term.
As with any dependable oral hygiene routine, consistent brushing and flossing habits make a difference. The same goes for controlling acid levels in the mouth. Try brushing with a soft-bristled tooth brush, especially if your teeth feel sensitive. Take extra time to floss once and brush twice daily. This ensures long-lasting dental health that prevents, or at least slows down, the erosion of your enamel.
Again, complete avoidance of acid in your diet is not a realistic solution. That said, the simplest way to prevent acid wear is to cut down on the consumption highly acidic foods or beverages. Taking action to limit the amount of acid that comes in contact with your teeth allows them to maintain healthy enamel levels, giving you a brilliant, erosion-free smile.
Now that you know what acid erosion is and how it can affect your teeth, your next question might be: What foods or beverages are considered highly acidic? While your friends at South University Dental can provide a more complete list, here are a few of the most common acidic foods:
Although there's no way to replace the tooth enamel, South University Dental Associates provides restorative services to treat acid erosion. If you're experiencing tooth sensitivity, yellowing of the teeth, or any other symptom of acid wear, a quality dentist in the Fargo-West Fargo Fargo-Moorhead area is just a phone call away. The team at South University Dental is available to offer advice, a diagnosis, or treatment as necessary.