When many people think about dental damage, they think about sudden, traumatic damage that occurs due to vehicular or sport-related accidents. Undoubtedly, this type of dental damage is very serious and needs to be quickly addressed. However, many of the most common dental problems with which patients deal are actually the result of day to day wear and tear, rather than a sudden trauma. Today our Saint Louis dentists are going to be talking more about one seemingly banal threat to your oral health, acid erosion.
Foods and drinks that contain a lot of acid coat your dental enamel and go to work weakening your enamel. A number of popular foods and beverages, like citrus fruits, fruit juices, soft drinks, and wine, contain appreciable amounts of acid.
Immediately after enamel is exposed to an acidic substance, the enamel is temporarily softened. During this period of time, your dental enamel is more susceptible to wearing away, as well as developing cracks and chips. Saliva helps your enamel to toughen up again once you’re done eating or drinking.
There are a number of simple steps that you can take in order to protect your smile day to day:
- Try to consume acidic substances in short, defined periods of time. When you snack or sip on these things all day, your enamel is soft for long periods of time.
- Get into the habit of rinsing your smile with water after eating or drinking. This not only rinses away acidic debris, but it also prompt saliva production.
- Refrain from brushing your teeth or using toothpicks for about 20 to 30 minutes after you finish eating or drinking. In this timeframe, your enamel is most vulnerable.
Proper at-home and professional oral hygiene care will also help you avoid acid-related damage over time. As always, our Saint Louis dentists are here to answer any questions that you may have, and to help you build a personalized dental health plan.