Tooth enamel is a thin outer covering on teeth that helps to protect your teeth when chewing, biting, and grinding. Enamel also helps insulate the teeth from painful temperatures and chemicals. When your enamel erodes, you may notice your teeth are more sensitive to sweets and hot or cold drinks and foods.
While enamel is the hardest tissue in the human body, it can become chipped, cracked, and eroded. Enamel contains no living cells, which means that once your tooth chips, cracks, or breaks, your body cannot repair it in the way it can repair bones. While chips and cracks can occur for a number of reasons, protecting your enamel from erosion can help to keep your teeth healthy and allow you to avoid pain!
At Aspen Hill Dental in Wheat Ridge, we offer a variety of dental care services to help keep your teeth and gums healthy. By getting regular dental checkups, we can ensure your enamel is in good shape and help you learn how to better keep it from eroding. For the most part, acidic foods and drinks are the main contributors to enamel erosion. In this blog, we are going to talk about some of the foods and drinks that cause enamel to erode. Learn more and contact Aspen Hill Dental today!
Soft drinks, including sodas and sports drinks, are one of the worst types of drinks for your enamel. Not only do they contain a lot of sugar, but they can also have a lot of phosphoric and citric acid in them. Carbonated drinks have higher acidic levels, no matter what type of drink it is or the flavor, so try to limit your carbonated drink intake.
Fruit drinks also contain a lot of acids. Not only do beverages that are citrus flavored have higher acid contents, but fresh-squeezed and all-natural orange juice and lemonade also have high acid contents. Citrus fruits are acidic in general, so drinking these juices regularly can be harmful to your teeth. According to a WebMD article, some acids in fruit drinks are more erosive than battery acid. So while we all love a cup of fresh-squeezed juice, it is best to not make that your main drink.
Sour Foods and Candy
Sour foods and candies also contain a lot of acids and should be limited. Sticky or chew foods and candies, including dried fruit like raisins, can be especially harmful to your teeth. Sticky foods can adhere to your teeth, which gives the bacteria that produce cavities to have more time to feed on those sugars and create acids that erode your enamel. It is best to limit your intake of sour foods and candies, especially if they are sticky.
More Foods and Drinks That Can Cause Enamel Erosion
Along with some of the worst culprits, there are many other foods and drinks that can cause enamel to erode. These include:
- Diets high in sugar and starches
- Coffee (especially if sweetened)
- Hard candy
While you don’t need to completely avoid these foods and drinks to keep your teeth healthy and strong, limiting your intake can help! Be sure to drink water regularly to help rinse your mouth out and help remove sugars and acids from your mouth.
Additional Things That Can Erode Enamel
Food and drinks are not the only things that can cause your enamel to erode. There are many additional factors that could affect your teeth more than you may realize. Dry mouth or low saliva flow, known as xerostomia, can make it easier for acids to erode your teeth. Saliva helps to wash away bacteria and leftover foods in your mouth, which can help prevent tooth decay. Saliva is also responsible for keeping the acids in your mouth at an acceptable level.
Other health problems like acid reflux disease, heartburn, and gastrointestinal problems can cause issues for your teeth. Acid reflux and heartburn cause stomach acids to make their way up to the mouth, where they can damage the enamel of your teeth. Some medications can also cause issues, including antihistamines, aspirin, and vitamin C.
Some other factors that may affect your tooth enamel are genetics and your environment. There are conditions that could be inherited that can lead to enamel eroding faster. As for environmental factors, stress, corrosion, friction, and normal wear and tear can erode your enamel. If you clench or grind your teeth, brush too hard or floss improperly, or bite hard objects, such as nails or pens, you could cause more damage to your teeth.
There are many factors that can cause your enamel to erode, and while there may not be anything you can do to completely prevent it from occurring, you can minimize the erosion. Simply be aware of what you are eating, drinking, and take care of your teeth! With regular dental cleanings, you can keep your teeth and gums healthy, minimize erosion, and maintain good oral health.
Learn more about the dental services that we offer and be sure to schedule an appointment with our team today! Contact Aspen Hill Dental in Wheat Ridge with any questions you may have. We are always happy to help.