Most people in Hendricks County think of sugar when it comes to tooth decay. But sugar isn’t the only thing that can damage teeth. High levels of acid in foods and drinks can cause irreversible erosion of your teeth’s enamel.
Enamel is a hard, mineralized substance that covers the outer layer of your teeth. Enamel acts as a strong barrier to protect the main portion of each tooth – the dentin – from the effects of acids, plaque and hot or cold foods and beverages.
Erosion occurs when acids wear away the tooth’s enamel, exposing the dentin. Once this happens, your tooth is vulnerable to tooth decay, pain and sensitivity. Unlike your bones, if your teeth’s enamel is destroyed, it’s gone for good. Your body can’t make more. That’s why it’s so important for everyone in Hendricks County to practice good dental hygiene and protect their teeth.
Some things that can cause acid erosion are:
- Carbonated soft drinks. All soft drinks, even “diet” options, have high levels of acid. While water is the best option to drink, beware of flavored, fizzy waters that contain citric acid and other ingredients that can increase acid levels in your mouth.
- Wine. It doesn’t matter if you drink red, white or rose wines, they all contain acids.
- Fruit juice. While not as bad for your teeth as soft drinks, fruit juice is still high in sugar and acids. The most acidic juices are orange, lemon, cranberry and apple.
- Citrus fruits. Even though citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and limes are part of a healthy diet, the acids in them can wear down your teeth.
- Sugary foods. While candy and sweets don’t contain high levels of acids, they can cause bacterial growth in your mouth, which creates an acidic environment.
- Carbohydrate-heavy foods. White bread, crackers, potato chips and other starchy snacks can get trapped in your teeth, giving bacteria something to munch on as they produce acids.
- Stomach acid. Medical conditions like bulimia and acid reflux can cause tooth erosion when stomach acids come in contact with your teeth. See your doctor if you suffer from these conditions.
Some ways you can prevent acid erosion’s effects on your teeth include swapping soft drinks for water; using a straw when drinking soft drinks or fruit juices; eating acidic foods only at mealtimes; and rinsing your mouth out with water after eating or drinking acidic foods or beverages.
Make sure to schedule regular dental checkups at the Hendricks County office of Danville Family Dentistry. Our staff can advise you on how to prevent acid erosion from getting worse. Or if a tooth is causing you problems due to enamel erosion, we can make treatment recommendations to repair it.