Dental Erosion

What is Dental Erosion

Dental-ErosionErosion is the action of dietary acids on teeth. Unlike the acid that is produced by bacteria in the mouth, which act on only a small area of the tooth, dietary acids or acid from the stomach, bathe the whole tooth in acid. This acid, again dissolves the mineral in the tooth. It however acts on the whole tooth reducing the thickness of the enamel covering the tooth. When the enamel is penetrated and the inside dentine is exposed it can produce a lot of tooth sensitivity. Erosion can result in the loss of large amounts of tooth tissue causing pain and tooth disfigurement and can be very difficult to treat.

Advice to prevent erosion

  • Use toothpaste containing 1,450 ppm fluoride twice daily.
  • Avoid frequent intake of acidic foods or drinks – keep them to mealtimes.
  • Do not brush immediately after eating or drinking acidic food or drinks.
  • Do not brush immediately after vomiting.
  • Do not swish, frothing or retain acid liquids in your mouth.
  • Any acid drink should be consumed well chilled and through a straw which is placed inside the mouth and not up against the front teeth.

Food and drink associated with erosion

Laboratory studies have shown that the following types of drinks, foods and medication have erosive potential:

  • drinks containing citric acid – eg orange, grapefruit, lemon, blackcurrant;
  • carbonated drinks;
  • alcopops and designer drinks;
  • cider;
  • white wine;
  • fruit teas (but not camomile);
  • some sports drinks which contain acid;
  • acidic fresh fruit – lemons, oranges, grapefruit – that are consumed with high frequency;
  • pickles;
  • chewable vitamin C tablets, aspirin, some iron preparations.

These should all be restricted to meal times only.

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