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While the word “acid” is generally thought of as a corrosive chemical that would never come in contact with your mouth, we actually consume acid on a regular basis. In fact, anything with a pH lower than 7, is considered an acid. Which means most of our favorite foods would fall into this range. Acid is a silent killer for our teeth and if left unattended will wreak havoc on them. The question many of our patients ask us is “how can they continue to eat and drink the things they love without causing a lot of damage to their teeth”. This is no small task and requires a little vigilance on their part. However, those who try to limit the effects acid has on their teeth, see a great increase in their dental health. Acid is harmful to your teeth because it erodes the enamel of your teeth. Enamel is the protective covering for your teeth and when it is not there, bacteria is able to seep into the tooth and cause cavities. While brushing twice a day will greatly decrease your chances of this occurring, monitoring when you introduce these acids to your teeth will help your health even more. Below are a few simple tips for avoiding acid erosion.
Coffee, wine and orange juice are three of the most acidic drinks people come into contact with. Brushing your teeth after drinking any of these will help counteract their effect. However, try not to brush right away as the acids will have softened the enamel and brushing would simply cause the pores to open up further. If brushing is not possible, you can rinse your mouth with water. Using a mouthwash product when brushing is not available, is also a great alternative. If you like to drink multiple cups of coffee or tea throughout the day, try to stager cups of water between them in order to rinse some of the acids away.
Eating foods with a high acid content alongside foods with a lower one can also help counteract the effects of the acid. Eating a banana with your orange juice or a bowl of oatmeal with your coffee are ways you can pair acidic and non-acidic foods together.
Many people experience sensitivity when exposing themselves to acidic foods and drinks due to the enamel erosion. Sometimes, the teeth are able to remineralize on their own and the sensitivity will subside. If the sensitivity is more severe, using a sensitivity toothpaste will alleviate your symptoms.
If you have any questions about acidic foods and your dental health, give our office a call. A healthy mouth will enable you to enjoy the foods you love and our staff at Jackson Family Dentistry wants to make sure you are healthy for years to come.