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How to avoid Tooth Erosion

July 26, 2009

One thing that all dentists agree on is that consuming acidic beverages can cause profound damage on your teeth.  The low potential of hydrogen (pH) levels in drinks like coffee, orange juice, green and black tea, and soda causes a demineralization effect on enamel and dentin.  The demineralization eventually causes tooth structure to wear away, leading to tooth sensitivity and possibly cracking. The best way to avoid extreme cases of erosion is to first find the root of the problem, understand how the problem is affecting the teeth, and then reduce or stop consumption of that item.  If you drink a lot of soda, you should at least know how incredibly acidic it is.  Carbonated beverages have a ph level of around 2.5.  To give that some context, water has a ph level of 7, perfectly balanced as neither acidic (below 7) or basic (above 7).  So at 2.5, soda is highly acidic, moreso then vinegar but still not as acidic as lemon juice, gastric fluid, or battery acid. So once you’ve figured out where the acidity is coming from, just cut down on it.  The bigger problem isn’t how much of it you take in, but how frequently you take it in.  Drinking one large soda won’t be as bad as drinking multiple sodas throughout the day.  The reason for this is that saliva is a natural tooth remineralizer.  Once you’ve finished your venti coffee, you’ll slowly build your teeth.  But if you drink some orange juice a short period after that coffee, your teeth will be further worn when the acids come in contact, causing greater erosion of your enamel. There are plenty of ways to fix the demineralizing effect from acidic food and drink.  One solution is to try oral care products with fluoride or with NovaMin, a new oral care technology.  NovaMin, or Calcium Sodium Phosphosilicate, is used for surgical bone regeneration and has been demonstrated to rebuild the tooth faster than fluoride. NovaMin is becoming more and more popular and is now being featured in Remineralizing toothpastes such as Dr.Collins Restore toothpaste.  Another simple way to fix erosion is to chew sugarfree gum.  Chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes or so promotes helps to prevent cavities by reducing plaque acids white at the same time promoting saliva production, which will help strengthen and rebuild the tooth. One warning though, do not brush your teeth soon after consuming acidic food and beverages.  Since the teeth are in a weakened state, the toothbrush could potentially scrape off even more enamel.  It’s recommended to wait at least a half-hour (perfect amount of time to chew some sugar-free gum).  Also, erosion isn’t something that happens overnight.  It occurs over the course of a lifetime.   Even if you stop consuming acidic beverages all at once, your teeth might not be as strong as they were years ago.  So make sure to consult your dentist.