When it comes to the effects of acid on tooth enamel, it all comes down to having the right balance and the right aftercare. Yet, the reality is—most individuals do not consider what’s happening to their teeth when they are simply enjoying a glass of lemonade or when they’re indulging in their favorite starchy holiday foods. That’s why dental professionals spend ample time helping patients understand the effects of acid and how it leads to tooth decay.
Along the gum lines, on teeth and on the tongue are hundreds of live bacteria. While there are specific types of bacteria that are healthy, others are a product of acidic foods and beverages. These bacteria multiply quickly, and work to wear away the tooth’s enamel. As teeth are weakened, they may change in shape and texture over time. What’s more, however, teeth become prone to decay.
In order to understand the process of acid erosion on teeth, it’s important to understand demineralization. As reported by Colgate, demineralization is the gradual loss of minerals from tooth enamel, and this occurs when the pH level of one’s mouth drops to 5.7. Yet, what causes the pH level to fall to 5.7? The answer is simple—acid from foods and beverages work with existing bacteria in the mouth, and essentially outnumber the good bacteria and minerals. Many refer to this as an “acid attack".
On the other hand, minerals such as calcium and phosphate work to combat the effects of acid erosion. These are naturally found in saliva, and work throughout the day to restore minerals in teeth.
Protecting Your Teeth From An Acid Attack
With a greater understanding of acid erosion and its effects on tooth enamel, dental professionals want you to know—it’s possible to protect your teeth from an acid attack.
To begin, it’s important to commit to regular dental checkups. While a thorough dental cleaning works to remove sticky, colorless plaque and tartar, dentists can provide insight into your oral health to prevent dental problems in the future. In turn, your dentist provides the information needed to allow your teeth to gain minerals throughout the day. This is done by limiting the amount of snacks between meals and reserving sweet treats for special dinners and events. Finally, opting for water instead of sodas, juices or wine is incredibly helpful to wash away harmful bacteria.
At Pleasant Plains Dental, we take pride in helping our patients advance their oral health. While we want you to indulge in your favorite dishes and beverages in the upcoming season, your dental health remains our priority. That’s why we urge you to call today if you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity or if it’s been some time since your last appointment. Also, remember—take advantage of your dental benefits by December 31st!
Posted on behalf of Dr. Henry J. Ernst, Pleasant Plains Dental