Acidic drinks such as lemon water or flavoured teas are eroding your teeth.
Summer is a perfect time to enjoy flavoured water with a dash of lemon or savour a sweet tea. However, new research in this field, suggesting that consuming acidic foods and drinks is eroding your teeth.
King's College London Dental Institute researchers looked deeper into the role of your diet in tooth wear. Their findings, published in the British Dental Journal suggest that drinking acidic drinks, such as lemon flavoured water or fruit tea, can cause tooth erosion. The study concluded that regular consumption of acidic drinks could cause people to be 11 times more likely to have their teeth eroded.
Lemon flavoured water contains citric acids that cause tooth erosion.
"Increased frequency of dietary acid consumption, particularly between meals appears to be the predominant risk factor. Habitually drinking acidic drinks by sipping them slowly or swishing, rinsing or holding acidic drinks in the mouth before swallowing will also increase risk of progression," lead author Dr. Saoirse O'Tolle stated in her research.
"Additions of fruit or fruit flavourings to drinks and regular consumption of vinegar, pickles, acidic medications or acidic sugar-free sweets are potential hidden risk factors that should be discussed with patients at risk of erosive tooth wear progression."
Dental erosion is common
Canadian dentists are seeing more and more people with dental erosion. Teeth erosion occurs when the hard part of the tooth surface wears away from contact with acid.
"Dental erosion can be caused by certain health conditions such as stomach acid problems and eating disorders but eating and drinking foods high in acid such as sports drinks and soft drinks can also cause teeth to erode," the CDA said.
Choose alternative snacks
To prevent tooth erosion and prevent enamel loss of your teeth, consider choosing snacks that won't harm your teeth. Some of those are fruit and raw vegetables, plain milk or buttermilk, cheeses and cottage cheese, plain yogurt, har-boiled eggs, nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds and salads.
The researches also concluded that both adults and children increased the number of snacks consumed during the day. The addition of fruit juices, flavoured teas, sports drinks has also increased as a result. This simple addition of flavoured lemon water can make a drink as corrosive as a cola drink.
Flavoured teas (such as lemon and ginger teas) fruit-flavoured sweets, and lozenges also have a "large erosive potential," the researchers said.
How to protect your teeth from acid erosion
To prevent erosion, our team suggests choosing drinks that contain low levels of acid. Also, try avoiding swishing or holding high-acid beverages in your mouth for an extended period. We also recommend consuming high-acid food and drinks with your meal (instead of making them snacks). Having a meal with an acidic drink will allow your saliva in your mouth to help wash away sugars and acids.
You can also brush your teeth approximately 15-30 minutes after your meal to help remove leftover acids and sugars from your chewing surfaces.
Try to chew sugar-free gum instead of regular chewing gum or avoid it altogether.
Importance of prevention vs reactive approach
We all have a different value that we assigned to our oral health. Some of us had a bad experience at the dentist when we were a child and as a result, we carry that believe with us for the rest of our lives only going to the dentist when an emergency such as broken tooth arises. Other people believe that a dentist should be avoided because they cost too much. The neglect of not taking care of your mouth and the teeth is what is expensive not your regular hygiene visits. Our team celebrates when our patients have no cavities and have perfect oral hygiene.
At Lakefront our team believes that a reactive approach creates several problems with it. When waiting for that tooth to crack or waiting until you feel the pain as your teeth are eroding - you allow yourself to minimize the importance of your teeth in your overall health.
Think about it this way, your mouth is the most used part of your body. You chew food with it to help you digest it properly, you talk and communicate with other people using your mouth, you kiss your significant other and your kids with it and you smile and express your emotions - all with your mouth.
Our team's goal at Lakefront is to help you achieve ultimate oral health for you. How can we achieve it? Simple, get in the habit of taking care of our oral health just like we do with everything else in life. We pay attention to the food we eat, did we change the oil in our cars, we make sure to get kids supplies for school - taking care of the teeth is no different. Once you make a commitment to never feel pain or never experience another root canal and instead have regular oral hygiene appointment - we create a positive habit and an incredible change happens. We begin to feel amazing and look forward to our hygiene appointments.
Just remember prevention is the key to your overall health and oral health is no different, dealing with small problems before they become bigger not only saves you from pain but also saves you money and more importantly you get to keep your natural teeth healthy longer.