With the exception of a few rare conditions, most all of us are born with a healthy layer of enamel on our teeth. As one of the hardest substances known to man, enamel provides protection, aesthetic beauty, and unparalleled strength; as such, it is very hard to replicate or replace. Because there are no living cells in enamel, once it is dissolved, fractured, decayed, or worn away it cannot repair itself or grow back.
At Two Rivers Dentistry, we do everything possible to preserve and protect your tooth enamel. Enamel erosion leads to the eventual loss of this important protective layer. Its deterioration exposes the inner yellow layer of dentin, leading to rapid erosion, wear, sensitivity, cavities, bacterial invasion, and the loss of tooth structure–among other complications. If damaged, you’ll need your dentist’s help to repair it so it doesn’t wear away more.
The proliferation of acidic beverages is a major culprit in the loss of tooth enamel today. Because many of our most popular drinks are so acidic, most patients who consume acidic beverages on a regular basis will experience the dissolution of the enamel layer in a fairly short amount of time. In moderation, however, and with a vigilant home care routine, they may be fine–it is the frequency and quantity of consumption that becomes critical in dental care
It is relatively common for people today to think that because a beverage claims to have no sugar, it will not cause long-term damage. Yet, even flavored sparkling waters can cause tremendous damage. Within twenty minutes of consumption, studies have shown that bacteria already present on your teeth produce acid from the byproducts of the carbonated water. For comparison purposes a handy chart may be of benefit
The more we consume acidic beverages, the more prone we are to acid erosion. Those hoping to avoid yellow teeth, tooth sensitivity, cavities, extensive wear, and other painful or embarrassing outcomes should educate themselves on the effects of acidic beverages. Those with sensitive teeth experience acute pain when they drink or bite into hot, cold sweet, acidic or spicy foods and drinks, and consequently, enamel erosion can have harmful effects on their long term diet. Acidic citrus juices are indeed packed with the ever-helpful Vitamin C, but one must exercise caution and moderation. Their PH levels–especially lemon and lime juice–rival the acidity of stomach and battery acid.
So, how can we protect our teeth and keep our enamel safe? First, reduce any frequent, repeated intake of acidic beverages, replacing them with water, milk, or a milk-substitute. Second, drink acidic beverages with food rather than sipping them between mealtimes. If at all possible, after your meal rinse with water to further dilute any remaining acid in your mouth. Wait at least thirty minutes to brush your teeth after mealtime as toothpaste can damage newly sensitive areas. Baking soda or rinses we carry at our practice (like Cari-free CTX Maintenance) can bring your mouth’s PH back up to healthy levels after drinking highly acidic beverages. If you are concerned about your enamel and experience any problems stemming from the consumption of acidic beverages, call or visit your dentist right away.