Your teeth are exposed to acid erosion every day, and it is definitely something to be concerned about, but what is it? Acid erosion occurs when the acidity levels in your mouth increase, and this happens several times a day for example whenever you eat or drink something that contains lots of sugars or which is very high in carbohydrates such as cookies and chips or pastries. Whenever you eat these foods the bacteria naturally present in your mouth will convert the leftovers into energy for their own use. This allows them to thrive and multiply, and as they do so they will create acids. In addition some foods are naturally high in acids. These acids lower the pH levels in the mouth so it becomes more acidic for up to half an hour after eating. After this time the acidity gradually decreases as your saliva helps to neutralize these acids and to wash away excess foods.
Unfortunately while the acidity levels are high this affects your tooth enamel, causing acid erosion. Tooth enamel is usually incredibly strong, and is a crystalline structure that contains various minerals including calcium and phosphorus. When it is exposed to acid some of these minerals are removed which has be effect of softening the enamel. These minerals remain in the saliva, and some but not all are re-deposited into the tooth enamel as the acidity levels gradually decline. This is the reason why it is best not to brush straight after eating, as you will be brushing softened tooth enamel, and will help to wash away some of the minerals that are in your saliva. Instead it is best to wait for half an hour before brushing. Over time the continual exposure to acids in the mouth will begin to wear away your tooth enamel, causing an effect called acid erosion.
Acid erosion will increase the risk of tooth decay as your tooth enamel will be thinner and weaker. You might also notice your teeth become more sensitive to hot and cold as the enamel thins. So what can you do to reduce the risk of acid erosion? Luckily there is quite a bit, and your dentist at the Cosmetic Dentistry Center can help. When you next visit your dentist for a checkup they will be looking for any signs of small cavities that could be caused by acid erosion, or signs that the enamel is becoming weaker. Topical applications of fluoride while you are in the dentist chair can help to harden your tooth enamel, and this is easily done through the use of extra strength fluoride mouthwash, or through the use of fluoride gel or foam in a mouth tray, or your dentist could use fluoride varnish that is painted onto the surface of the teeth.
You can help increase the efficacy of treatments by making a few simple changes to your lifestyle. Your dentist might recommend using fluoride mouthwash as well as fluoride toothpaste, and once you have brushed then just spit out the excess toothpaste rather than rinse. This will mean more of the fluoride remains in your mouth, helping to protect and harden your tooth enamel so it is more resistant to acid erosion. Changing your diet or eating habits can also be useful. Cutting down on the amount of sugary foods or foods that are high in acids will help reduce the amount of acid produced in your mouth. If you do want these foods then include them in a main meal rather than snacking, so the effects are minimized.
Cosmetic Dentistry Center
7708 4th Avenue
Bay Ridge Brooklyn, NY 11209
Cosmetic Dentistry Center in Brooklyn, NY
We provide advanced surgical restorative, cosmetic and reconstructive procedures for adults and children. Specializing in dental implants as well as most complex surgical procedures.
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