What is Acid Wear?
Acid wear or acid/tooth erosion is the irreversible loss of tooth structure due to acids that are not of bacterial origin. Acid wear attacks your dental enamel, the thin, outer layer of hard tissue that protects your tooth’s structure and shape. Once the enamel is weakened, the underlying dentin (the tissue that makes up the middle layer of your tooth) becomes exposed. This results in your teeth becoming sensitive and discoloured.
What causes acid wear?
Even people with a healthy diet are prone to acid wear!
The most common cause of dental erosion is by acidic foods and drinks with a pH below 5.0-5.7. The most common culprits are:
- Carbonated drinks – even the diet varieties.
- Fruit juice, wine and beer.
- Sweet and/or sour treats, as well as most snack foods and candy
- Fruit, pickles, yogurt, and honey.
- Vinegar based salad dressings.
It is not just the food or drinks but how we consume them! Grazing or having imbalanced eating patterns, even if you are consuming fruit and veggies – has been linked to acid wear. The problem occurs when you don’t eat something that counterbalances the acidity of fruit at the time of consumption. Here are some other causes of acid wear:
- Dry Mouth. We need saliva to neutralize the bacteria and acids that are present in our mouth.
- Grinding your teeth or brushing too hard.
- Acid Reflux or heartburn.
- Diseases such as alcoholism or bulimia. Essentially any condition that may cause a person to vomit frequently.
- Some drugs and vitamin supplements contain a lot of acid, such as Vitamin C.
What are the signs of acid wear or tooth erosion?
Acid wear can cause severe damage to your teeth so it is extremely important to be aware of the early signs of tooth erosion.
- Discolouration. When the enamel starts to wear away, your teeth can become slightly yellow. Your front teeth may appear transparent near the biting edges. Smooth and shiny surfaces on your teeth can also be a sign of mineral loss.
- Sensitivity. Teeth become extremely sensitive once the enamel begins to wear away. If you experience pain when you eat or drink hot, cold, or sweet food or beverages.
- Change in Shape. Your teeth may appear more rounded in shape and the gaps between teeth may become larger. Small dents or uneven edges may appear on the chewing surfaces which mainly affects your molars.
- Fillings may look like they are rising out of the tooth.
- The most severe sign of acid wear is when your teeth begin to crack and become coarse.
How do I prevent acid wear?
It is important to discuss this with your dentist to come up with a proactive and preventative plan of action. In addition to this, Tusk Dental recommends the following:
- Reduce or eliminate your consumption of carbonated drinks and acidic beverages.
- If you are going to drink acidic beverages it is best to use a straw.
- Swallow acidic foods immediately after you’ve chewed them enough to digest them properly.
- Try not to snack on acidic foods during the day – save it for meal times. If you are going to graze on acidic foods, combine it with nuts and dairy foods to help counterbalance the acid.
- Immediately rinse your mouth out with water to neutralize the acids in your food or drinks. Rinsing your mouth with baking soda also helps to reduce the acidity in your mouth.
- Help your mouth produce more saliva by chewing sugar-free gum.
- Use toothpaste that reduces sensitivity and contains fluoride, like Sensodyne and brush with a soft toothbrush.
- Avoid brushing your teeth for one hour after consuming food and beverages with a high acid content.
Depending on the level of severity, Tusk Dental may recommend covering the damaged tooth with a crown to prevent further damage or decay. Prevent enamel loss and combat the effects of acid wear by practicing good oral hygiene. Brush and floss your teeth daily and visit Tusk Dental for regular check-ups and cleaning.
Why wait another day? Contact Tusk Dental and let us help you keep that beautiful smile healthy!