A quick guide to protect your teeth from acid erosion
Alright, we caught your attention, but we aren’t talking about Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD). We are talking about protecting your teeth of erosion from acidic food, drink and stomach acid. We have seen a number of patients at Convergent Dentistry that likely didn’t realize the effects of what were thought to be healthy behaviors like vitamin supplementation or pro-biotic drinks.
Many people have heard that Coca Cola or other sugary foods are bad for oral health. Did you know that acidic foods can be just as harmful (Tosuni-O’Neil, n.d.)? Citrus fruits and wine are examples of foods that wear down enamel (the protective surface of your teeth). Vitamin and supplements like Vitamin C lozenges can be extremely damaging (Personal Care, 2016). When teeth are exposed to acid, calcium percolates from the enamel, causing it to erode and lose it’s strength. Erosion can eventually expose dentin, the underlying material. When dentin is exposed, our teeth are extremely vulnerable to plaque and bacteria. You can imagine then that decay, sensitivity and discoloring soon ensue.
Here is a list of some common things high in acid:
- Kombucha/probiotic drinks
- Orange juice and other fruit juices
- Citrus fruits: lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit etc.
- Salad dressings containing citrus
- Vitamins/supplements/lozenges (Personal Care, 2016)
- Candies, especially the sour ones
- Sugar (promotes the growth of acid-creating bacteria)
- Stomach acid (vomiting and reflux). Stomach acid is a potent source of acid. If you suffer from an eating disorder, acid reflux or a related condition, your teeth may be at higher risk of erosion.
Reduce Contact Time with Acidic Foods
You don’t have to give up all acidic foods to protect your teeth from erosion. Here are some techniques you can use to minimize the amount of time acid spends in contact with your pearly whites:
- Eat with meals. Try not to snack throughout the day. By eating acidic foods at mealtime, you can reduce the contact time acid has with teeth. Other foods can also help neutralize the acidity.
- Wash down with water. Sip and swish water alongside or after consuming acidic food or drink. A little swishing could go a long way.
- Check the back and read the label. Be especially on the lookout for things containing ascorbic acid or citric acid.
- Use a straw. Drinking with a straw is another way to reduce tooth contact with acid.
- Drink, don’t sip. Instead of consuming acidic drinks over a long period of time, try to drink acidic beverages quickly. This will help minimize saturation/exposure of acid on teeth.
- Look for low or no-sugar drinks.
- Drink more water.
- Wait before brushing. Acid softens enamel. Brushing while enamel is weakest can actually cause more damage. Rinse with water immediately and then wait 30 min before brushing.
Tosuni-O’Neil. (n.d.). How acidic foods affect TEETH & which to AVOID: COlgate oral care. Retrieved May 22, 2020 from https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/life-stages/adult-oral-care/how-acidic-food-affect-teeth-and-which-to-avoid-1215
Vitamin supplements can they help or hurt your teeth? (2016, September 28). Retrieved May 22, 2020, from https://www.personalcaredentistry.com/vitamin-supplements-can-they-help-or-hurt-your-teeth/