Tooth decay results from the acid produced when sugar and oral bacteria in the mouth combine and feed off each other. Frequently consuming foods higher in acid content can lead to irreversible dental erosion. Dental erosion is the breakdown of the tooth’s structure; the outer layer called enamel. Dental enamel is the thin layer of hard tissue that helps maintain the tooth’s structure and the shape while preventing decay. Tooth enamel is known to be the strongest substance in the body. Saliva slowly helps restore the natural balance of acid in the mouth by washing away the plaque, which is the sticky film of bacteria on your teeth. With an excessive diet of foods and drinks high in sugar and starches, it takes longer for the mouth to restore the natural balance of acid. Foods such as candy and sugary drinks are among the most obvious. However, food such as pasta, white bread, crackers, fruits, and fruit products (wine) can be just as harmful as candy and sodas! When the enamel becomes compromised with this acid bacteria and erosion has occurred symptoms of sensitivity will occur. Symptoms will include sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures and to sweets as well. Following a healthier diet of minimal sugar and starches, and limiting fruit based acidic foods such as orange juice and wine can control dental erosion. When eating these higher acidic foods and drinks, make sure to incorporate these foods in your normal mealtime and it will help to reduce the amount of acid in your mouth.
Other tips include:
- Use a straw when possible
- Chew sugar-free gum after eating
- Always brush with fluoride toothpaste every night before bed
Dental erosion may be irreversible, but there are several procedures that can help to repair the tooth structure with a bonded filling or a crown by your dentist.