Sugar is not the only dietary factor that causes erosion of your valuable tooth enamel. Acidic foods and beverages can wear reduce the enamel from your tooth. Tooth erosion is permanent; it can cause increased sensitivity to hot or cold beverages.
Many sports drinks, vitamin water, sodas and juices are acidic. Even if they’re sugar free the acid will cause enamel erosion when in contact for extended periods of time. It’s best to limit how much of these beverages you consume throughout the day.
If you must consume acidic beverages, we have a few tips for you. Use a straw when possible and don’t swish the beverage around in your mouth. This limits the direct contact of acid with tooth enamel. Also, don’t brush your teeth right away after consuming acidic foods or drinks. By brushing teeth with enamel on them, you can actually wear away some of the enamel. It’s best to wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth. Always use a soft toothbrush. Rinsing with water is a good idea as it neutralizes the acid content in your mouth.
Water is great at neutralizing acid and it dissolves sugar as well. Most damage to enamel is caused when acidic or sugary substances stay on teeth for extended periods of time (i.e. 5, 10 or 20 minutes.) By rinsing with water or drinking water the acid can be immediately neutralized and sugar can be dissolved so as not to harm enamel. After eating candy it’s recommended to drink some water to minimize the possible harm of getting new cavities.
Water is also extremely important for people’s overall health. Studies find that most Americans are chronically dehydrated. Dr. Peter Mann’s suggestion is to always start the day with a large jug of water. Although he probably will have a cup of coffee first when waking up. Water removes toxins from your body. It is the healthiest beverage we can consume in large amounts on a daily basis.
Visit your dentist every 6 months for a routine check-up and cleaning. The dentist will evaluate your enamel and give your additional tips to keep your teeth strong, functional and looking pretty.