Is your acidic diet eating away your tooth enamel?

Is your acidic diet eating away your tooth enamel?

Do you regularly consume acidic foods and drinks such as fruit (particularly citrus), pickles, tomato products, tea, coffee, fruit juices, soft drink and alcohol (e.g. wine and pre-mixed drinks)? Then your diet could be eroding your tooth enamel – which may lead to yellowing, pain and sensitivity.

Enamel provides a protective coating for your teeth, acting as a barrier for the dentine that exists underneath. Dentine is sensitive and is darker yellow in colour than enamel, hence when the layer of enamel is worn away your teeth develop pain and sensitivity, as well as appearing discoloured.

Acidic foods have a pH level of 5.5 or lower, the range in which teeth begin to demineralize. However, teeth can become stronger and re-mineralize when the environment within the mouth is raised to a pH of 7.5 or above. Each time you consume anything acidic, it softens the enamel of your teeth for a brief period, causing it to lose some of its mineral content. Your saliva will naturally counteract the acidity, returning your mouth to a healthy balance. Although, if your mouth is constantly under acid attack it doesn’t allow it the opportunity to return to a healthy balance and over time the surface of your teeth is gradually lost.

How changes to your diet can help

Aside from reducing your consumption of acidic foods and beverages, if you consume foods with a higher pH alongside the acidic foods it can help to neutralize the acidity. Foods including nuts, cheese, oatmeal, mangoes, melons bananas, apples, eggs, vegetables, brown rice, whole grains, fish and lean meats are not only low in acidity but may also help to protect your enamel by providing calcium and phosphorus to re-mineralize the teeth.

The best drink for teeth is plain water, however, milk is also helpful for neutralizing the acidity in your mouth.

Other causes of erosion include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Diets high in sugar and starches
  • Acid reflux disease (GORD)
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Certain medications
  • Genetics
  • Wear and tear

It should also be noted that if you have consumed anything acidic you need to wait for at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth to avoid damaging the enamel while it is in a weakened state. Dental erosion does not always require treatment; however, it is important to have regular check-ups. Our highly experienced and friendly dentists at Tindale Dental Centre care about preventing the concern getting any worse and the erosion going any further. Please don’t hesitate, contact our Penrith Dental practice today on (02) 4722 6115 to discuss other tips for maintaining your dental wellbeing.