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  • Writer's pictureYour Cotati Dentists

Protect your teeth from acid erosion!

We all know sugar can cause dental cavities, but did you know that acid, which can come from diet or reflux, can also be destructive to your teeth? The image below, from Dental Arcade, illustrates the devastating effect that acid can have on your teeth.

Citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and oranges are common sources of acid. Drinks like coffee, wine, fruit juices and lemon water can also be surprisingly acidic. When you consume these foods, the pH in your mouth drops, which slightly weakens the outer minerals of your teeth. Acidic beverages can be especially damaging because many people will sip on them throughout the day, which keeps your mouth acidic. To prevent erosion from your diet, you can reduce sources of acid and increase foods that help to neutralize, such as cheese or water.

After a meal, your saliva will naturally bring the pH of your mouth back to a neutral level and re-harden the mineral structure of your teeth. People with dry mouth, a condition called xerostomia, are therefore at increased risk for acid erosion and cavities. Chewing xylitol gum following meals can help to stimulate saliva, and you can talk with your doctor about further options.

Additionally, heartburn can create a more acidic oral environment. Over time, acids erode away the enamel, which is the outer layer of tooth. When the yellow inner layer of tooth, called dentin, is exposed, people can experience sensitivity, changes in bite, and shorter looking teeth. If you suffer from acid reflux, your doctor may be able to offer you some solutions.

For those who have already experienced erosion, dental restorations including sealants, fillings, and even veneers can be noninvasive ways to restore the outer structure of tooth and protect against further erosion. Use soft or extra-soft bristled toothbrushes and toothpastes low in abrasiveness, along with topical fluorides to keep your enamel strong. Talk to your dentist about what's best for you!

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