The Effects of Acid
As children, our parents and dentists alike warned us about the effect of sugar on our teeth. But what we didn’t know then that we do now is that it is actually acid, that can cause the most damage to our oral health. There are a number of foods and beverages that we consume on a daily basis that are high in acid, and that could be potentially harmful to our pearly whites. Our dental professionals here at Start Smiling in Sandy Springs, GA want you to understand the potential effects of acid on your teeth, what to watch for, and how to avoid it so that we can work together to prevent future costly dental treatments.
Our Dental Enamel
The outer structure of our teeth is made up of enamel, and just underneath the enamel, dentin. These two parts of the tooth act as barriers to protect our roots and pulp from exposure to decay-causing bacteria. Over time, a diet high in acid will cause an environment where the enamel and dentin are weakened. This makes them more susceptible to decay, sensitivity, and pain. This occurrence is commonly referred to as acid erosion. Food and beverages most likely to cause acid erosion are sports drinks, soda, juices and iced tea. As you can see, these highly acidic foods and drinks are popular favorites among all age groups.
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Acid erosion can cause a variety of issues for patients, ranging in severity from discoloration of the teeth to decayed teeth requiring extraction. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of acid erosion so that you can take the proper measures to reduce the amount of acid in your diet and seek oral healthcare attention to prevent further damage. One of the first signs of erosion is the rounding of a tooth’s edges. Because the edges of the teeth are vulnerable and most likely to be exposed you’ll notice this symptom first. Next, you may begin to notice the overall discoloration of your teeth. As the enamel begins to wear away, teeth lose their original color and can become dull, discolored, or even yellow. The final and most obvious sign of acid erosion is sensitivity and pain.
Prevention & Protection
You may be asking yourself, “How do I consume the things I love, without risking affecting my teeth?” Well we have the answers for you. First, we recommend eating foods high in acid, as meal instead of as a snack, this will limit the frequency of which you expose your teeth to the acidic food and help dilute the amount of acid your teeth absorb by mixing them with other foods. Next, we recommend sipping acidic beverages through a straw; this will reduce their contact with your teeth. Lastly, we advise you to wait before brushing. Acid can soften the enamel of your teeth almost immediately, so wait until at least a half hour has passed between consuming a food or beverage high in acid, before brushing your teeth.
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Acid erosion is a very common dental health issue because the foods we love the most are often the culprit. It is indeed possible to consume the things you love without risking the health of your smile. If you believe that you may be suffering from the onset of acid erosion, it is not too late to reverse the damage. Our skilled dental professionals can help create a customized plan to tackle your current oral healthcare concerns as well as to help you meet your future dental goals as well. Give Start Smiling dental a call today. We look forward to meeting you!