Do you brush your teeth right after eating / drinking something acidic?
Give your teeth some time. If you brush right after eating or drinking, you may cause tooth wear because the enamel is slightly softened by the acid. After 60 minutes, brush your teeth gently with a soft-bristled brush.
Do you brush your teeth before eating / drinking something acidic?
This probably doesn’t happen too often, but if you do, you should stop. Brushing your teeth right before drinking or eating something acidic takes away the saliva that protects the enamel from acid.
Do you brush your teeth too vigorously?
It seems like a great idea to brush hard, to scrub away all the pieces of food. But brushing too hard can wear down and soften a tooth’s enamel. Instead, brush your teeth softly, using a circular strokes and a soft brush. Use a soft brush with Pronamel (the least abrasive toothpaste).
Do you grit and grind your teeth?
Everyone grinds their teeth now and then – when you’re lifting something big and heavy, or when you’re stressed – and some people grind their teeth while sleeping, a condition called bruxism. Any type of tooth-to-tooth clenching will wear down the teeth. Ask your dentist how wearing an acrylic bite guard to bed will avoid this.
Do you take any type of medication regularly?
Many types of prescriptions can cause a dry mouth. When your mouth has less moisture, teeth become more vulnerable to eroding enamel and all of the cavities or gum problems that can develop. Ask your dentist or pharmacist if any of your medications you take can dry up your valuable saliva. You may be able to take action to prevent dry mouth with products by BIOTENE.
Do you experience frequent bouts of heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)?
Your digestive system works with acids. When the acids make their way back into your mouth via burping or reflux, your tooth enamel can be damaged.
Do you vomit frequently?
As with heartburn or GERD, vomiting exposes your teeth to digestive acids. People with eating disorders like bulimia or anorexia may purposely vomit, but it can also be a symptom or complication of different illnesses, conditions (e.g., “morning sickness” during pregnancy). Treatments vary, ask your MD.
Do you swim in chlorinated pools often?
The chlorine in swimming pools has been found to be corrosive to enamel over time. You would have to be exposed to a lot of chlorinated pool water for it to have an effect though. If you spend time in the pool, avoid taking water into your mouth.
Do you eat a lot of fruit?
Not to give fruit a bad rap, but fruits like pomegranates, grapes, lemons, and limes, though otherwise very good for you, all contain high levels of citric, malic, or tartaric acid. Acids like these can erode the enamel of the teeth.
Do you eat a lot of pickles, yogurt, etc?
Like fruits, yogurt and pickles are acidic, containing lactic acid. Eaten often, these high-acid foods can prevent the mouth’s own efforts to defend against acid erosion.
Do you drink lots of soft drinks, juice, or sports drinks?
As more people have taken to drinking pop, dentists have recognized more enamel erosion. Cola-based soft drinks contain phosphoric acid, while non-cola drinks – usually clear, bubbly concoctions with lemon or lime flavours – feature citric acid. Though they have higher pH levels (meaning less acidity), the citric acid in non-cola soft drinks has been shown to be especially bad for tooth enamel. Drink water – the best fluid for your amazing body!
Do you like to drink pop when you’re thirsty?
When you’re your thirstiest, your mouth may be quite dry and low on saliva. Without saliva to neutralize acid, gulping pop would be one of the worst things you could do for your teeth. Drink water instead!
Are you a wine connoisseur?
Wine naturally contains acid that wear down tooth enamel. Less acidic wine, select an Italian red, which seems to have less corrosive influence than French wine or white wine. Unless you’re a professional wine-taster, try not to swish wine around in your mouth. Swishing splashes wine all over your teeth, coating them in acid.
Do you like a nightcap?
If you’re drinking wine, pop, juice, or sports drinks, gives yourself a couple of hours before bed. Just like swishing, sipping on acidic drinks before bed means that your teeth will spend lots of time in contact with corrosive acids. Brush before sleeping, but be sure to wait about 60 minutes after drinking to brush. Brushing immediately after consuming acidic foods or drinks is not recommended since the enamel remains soft after a potentially erosion-causing activity, making the enamel susceptible to damaging mechanical wear.
SOLUTIONS TO COMBAT THE DAMAGE
A healthy flow of saliva can usually do the job of clearing the potentially damaging acids from your teeth and gums. You can help prevent the erosion of your tooth enamel, too.
Minimize your consumption of acidic drinks, including soft drinks, juice, sports drinks, and wine. Switch your carbonated cola for water.
If you must drink acid-rich drinks, maybe sip through a straw. Place the straw toward the back of your mouth versus letting the flow of liquid wash over the surface of your teeth.
And if you must drink pop, choose root beer. In research studies, it seemed to have a less corrosive effect on tooth enamel than other kinds of pop.
Don’t swish acidic drinks around your mouth or hold acidic foods in your mouth too long. The longer the contact time between acid and your enamel, the more damage done.
Chew on sugarless gum to stimulate protective saliva. Look for the ingredient Recaldent.
Rinse your mouth with water (include tap water as bottled water or reverse osmosis has no fluoride), sip milk, or munch on cheese after you eat anything acidic to balance the ph in your mouth.
Swish an acid-neutralizing fluoride rinse i.e. Oral B mouth wash (no alcohol or drying effect).
Brush gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush, using circular strokes or buy a powered toothbrush.
And lastly, VISIT YOUR DENTAL OFFICE at the frequency schedule recommended by your dental health care provider.
Sourced in part from Canoe.ca