Tooth decay is often associated with sugar, but there is an even more significant enemy of the teeth that can erode enamel on the tooth surfaces: Acid. Many of the foods and beverages that you consume each day are high in acid, which can cause widespread damage without the right type of oral care. Unlike regular cavities, acid erosion affects the whole surface of the tooth, so a filling will not suffice as treatment. Crowns or veneers will be necessary to restore the health of the teeth and protect against further damage. Read on to learn more about acid erosion and the steps you can take to prevent it.
High-Acidity Foods and Beverages
Acidic foods like citrus fruit and pickles can lead to erosion, but the worst offenders are actually high-acidity beverages. Soda and energy drinks—both regular and diet—are incredibly acidic, and they are often consumed in large quantities. Other acidic beverages include wine, coffee, and juice, which are also likely to stain the teeth due to their dark color.
Acid Neutralizing Strategies
You do not have to give up all the foods and beverages you enjoy to maintain a healthy smile. When you eat high-acid foods, make them part of a larger meal to help neutralize the acid. As you get your soda or juice fix, try using a straw to avoid direct contact with the teeth. Finally, rinsing with water or chewing sugar free gum to produce more saliva can dilute acid in the mouth and protect the teeth from erosion. Regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing are also beneficial for reversing the effects of acid exposure.
Your dentist can be another helpful resource in maintaining a healthy smile, which is why you will want to attend regular checkups at the Dental Office of Dr. Michael Manela. To schedule a consultation in our family-friendly Tucson office, give us a call at (520) 744-2039.