Whatever you eat affects your teeth – Dental erosion, a discussion
Are you aware that even the hardest biological material, stronger than steel, can be actually damaged by the food you eat?
Yes, you heard it right! This condition is known as dental erosion.
Dental erosion is the loss of the protective layer (Enamel) of your teeth due to certain chemicals present in the food items you eat. If untreated, dental erosion can lead to progressive loss of tooth structure and can require complex and lengthy treatments. If your teeth have become smooth, shiny and your teeth are sensitive to hot, cold or sweet foods and drinks then, beware! You might be suffering from tooth erosion.
Generally, the calcium present in your saliva will help neutralize the acid in the foods you eat but if you consume a lot of highly acidic foods or drinks, the calcium in your saliva might not be able to keep up.
The food we consume might be one of the main culprits of enamel erosion but it’s not the only one. Let us have a look at the other factors:
A major chunk of our daily food that we eat and drink contains acid. Sodas are a good example. Some common foods and drinks that contain high levels of acid include:
⇒ Soft Drinks
⇒ Energy Drinks
⇒ Citrus Fruits
⇒ Fruit Juices
⇒ Pre-mixed Alcoholic Drinks
Production of saliva is important for not just digestion but also prevention of enamel erosion. A reduced salivary flow will result in an increased acidic content in the mouth, which will cause the erosion of the tooth structure.
Our stomach has a high level of acid which helps in digestion of food, but if this acid comes in contact with the teeth, it can cause the enamel to erode. Gastrointestinal problems such as frequent vomiting and acid reflux bring a high level of acids into the mouth and cause wear and tear of the enamel.
Certain medications too can lead to the introduction of acids or similar substances in the mouth which can lead to enamel erosion. Aspirin and antihistamines are some examples.
Prevention from Enamel Erosion:
Maintaining a good oral health by brushing and flossing regularly is the most common preventive measure for almost all problems related to oral health. However, keeping a check on what you eat and drink can give you even better results.
Intake of Acidic Food and Drinks:
A good way to prevent enamel erosion is to reduce the intake of highly acidic or carbonated foods. Foods and Drinks that are citrus in nature should also be avoided.
Chewing a gum increases the production of saliva, but if it is not sugar-free then it might trigger bacterial growth in the mouth. Thus chewing a sugar-free gum can increase the saliva production helping dry mouth.
It is important to use a toothpaste that has Fluoride in it as it is good for strengthening the teeth. However, if you are undergoing any kind of medication, you might want to consult your dentist before you switch your toothpaste.
For an average individual, the saliva produces enough protection for the teeth, however, if a healthy diet is not followed, the protection of the saliva is not enough. If you are experiencing unusual sensitivity in your teeth, a visit to the dentist would be helpful in maintaining healthy teeth and a beautiful smile.