Sugar is not the only thing that can harm your teeth. In fact, there are plenty of other substances that slowly chip away at our smiles. One of the biggest offenders is acid. Maybe you have heard of acid erosion, but just in case you haven’t, Dr. Priscilla Shih wants all West Salem residents to have the facts about how dietary choices affect our teeth. Read on to learn what causes sensitive teeth, what acid erosion is, and how to stop it from tarnishing your smile.
How does acid affect teeth?
Teeth are sturdy little nuggets of bone that do a great job of chewing our food, but they have their weaknesses. As we have discussed in other blogs, bacteria in the mouth feeds on sugars and starches from food and can cause problems. However, most West Salem folks don’t know that acidic foods are also harmful to teeth. Dr. Priscilla Shih explains that this is because acid attacks and dissolves enamel, which is the protective outer layer of your teeth.
What causes acid erosion?
Acidity is measured by pH. Neutral, meaning neither acidic nor basic, is defined as pH 7, so everything below that is acidic and all pH levels above 7 are basic, or alkaline. For example, vinegar has a pH of about 2 and baking soda is around pH 9. Pure water is very close to pH 7. When acidic substances come in contact with teeth, they eat away at enamel, causing dental erosion. Once enough enamel has been lost, your teeth become painfully sensitive to hot and cold and general chewing may be uncomfortable as well.
The best way to protect yourself is to follow these steps:
- Limit your consumption of juice and soft drinks, because they do the most damage to enamel. West Salem folks tend to take longer when sipping drinks than eating food, so your teeth are exposed to their acids for more time.
- If you love soda and/or juice, it’s ok to drink it in moderation, but make sure to rinse your mouth with water afterwards.
Why is acid erosion important?
Cavities can be filled, plaque can be brushed away, tartar can be removed, gum disease can be treated, but the loss of enamel cannot be reversed. Remember to think about that before you reach for a soda!
If your teeth have been damaged by acid, don’t despair, because there are plenty of things Dr. Priscilla Shih can do to help prevent further enamel loss and reduce sensitivity caused by it. Call Waterloo Heights Dental Center today to set up an appointment for acid erosion consultation. We love to help the fine folks of West Salem keep their mouths healthy and their smiles bright!