Growing up in North Houston area we were always taught that sugar is bad for our teeth. Over the years, it’s been determined that acidic drinks are just as bad, if not worse than sugary ones. Beverages that are high in acid are responsible for countless number of patients that we see each year who are suffering from enamel erosion.
What Is Enamel Erosion?
Your teeth have different layers. The outermost surface of the tooth is called the enamel. This coating is thin, hard, and whitish in color. Enamel protects the inner layers of your teeth that aren’t meant to be exposed.
Dental erosion is a chemical process that results in the breakdown of tooth enamel. Lacking enamel leaves your teeth feeling sensitive, especially to sweets and certain temperatures. Discoloration also occurs due to the dentin layer of your tooth being exposed, which is yellow in color. Your enamel may also chip away, and your teeth become rough, irregular, and jagged as the enamel continues to erode.
Some of the most acidic drinks out there include:
- Soda and Soft Drinks, including diet drinks
- Sports Drinks
- Fruit Juices
How To Combat The Effects From Acidic Drinks
Ultimately the best way to combat acidic drinks is to not consume them at all. For some people this isn’t a realistic goal. So here are a few tips for those people that may want to continue drinking their favorite drinks.
Use a Straw – Drinking through a straw will help keep the acid from coating your teeth and reduce the number of surfaces it comes into contact with.
Don’t Sip All Day – After you drink something acidic, your mouth starts working to get back to its neutral pH. To give your mouth a break from all the acid and help it stay regulated, you should try to drink your beverage all at once rather than sipping on it for several hours.
Clean Your Mouth – After you’re done drinking, you should immediately rinse your mouth with water. If this is inconvenient for you, then have a glass of water with your meal and after you’ve consumed your acidic drink you can gently sip and swish the water before swallowing it. Doing so will help neutralize the acids in your mouth.
Drinking acidic beverages softens your tooth enamel, so once you’re done eating, you should wait at least 30 minutes to brush your teeth. This will give your teeth some time to recoup. Using an enamel-strengthening fluoride toothpaste, can also help your teeth withstand the damage.
Cure Dry Mouth – Saliva is responsible for flushing your mouth out. If you have dry mouth (xerostomia,) then it’ll have a harder time returning to its normal pH level. There are products available over the counter that can cure your dry mouth.
Getting Professional Help
Dr. Sasan Bastani, the dentist at North Houston Dentistry can also help. We proudly serve the residents of North Houston. If you’re in need of gentle dental care, then give us a call to schedule an appointment. We look forward to meeting you!