Healthy living includes eating a big portion of fruits, regular exercise and brushing your teeth after every meal. Surprisingly, this supposedly healthy habit can lead to erosion of the tooth enamel.
Sports Drinks and Enamel are Enemies
The Australian Dental Association says ingesting acidic drinks after exercise poses a high risk of dental erosion. Carbonated drinks, including low calorie and sports drinks, may lead to tooth erosion.
After exercising, salivary production slows down that makes the mouth open for acid attack. Saliva has protective properties like rinsing, buffering and remineralising. Patients with Xerostomia or dry mouth are more prone to erosion. Acid drinks worsen this condition and catalyse the damaging effects of xerostomia.
Enamel, the outer layer of the tooth is made largely of mineral. When acid contacts the tooth, the enamel dissolves or erodes. Mill Street Central Centre relates a number of factors can damage the enamel –abrasion, caries, abfractions and erosion. Erosion causes dentinal hypersensitivity and thinning out that makes the teeth more susceptible to decay.
The signs of dental erosion are sensitivity, reduction in tooth length, cupped biting surfaces of the back teeth, fillings projecting above the tooth surface, and teeth looking yellow. Any acidic food and drink can cause tooth erosion, including many healthy foods, such as oranges, grapefruits, vinegar, pickles, fruit juices, yogurt and vitamin C tablets.
You can prevent enamel erosion by reducing your acid drink intake. Not brushing your teeth immediately after eating because acid dissolves the outer layer of enamel. This layer can recover in the next two hours if it is not brushed away. Chew sugar-free gum for five minutes after every meal to neutralise acid. Try to avoid too many acidic foods, such as tomato ketchup and vinegar. After exercise, saliva flow decreases. Acid has a higher chance of attacking teeth so avoid acidic drinks after exercise.
Dental erosion is surprisingly easy to incur if you are not quick to correct your habits. Moderation, proper hygiene and preventive maintenance with the help of dental professionals can stop erosion.