Elmhurst Dentist Explains How to Protect Teeth from Acid Erosion

Written by Dr. Scharfenberg on Feb 21, 2012

Our patients are always interested in learning about ways to protect their teeth from decay and harmful substances. For the most part, our patients understand that substances like tobacco and sugar will hurt their teeth over time.  However, many patients don’t know that acid erosion is also a serious, and exceedingly common, threat to dental health. Our Elmhurst dentists are committed to helping patients understand how acid erosion can affect dental health, so that each one of our patients can feel confident taking control of their teeth!


So what is acid erosion?


Acid erosion refers to a condition in which the outer enamel of the tooth is worn down, weakened, or softened by regular exposure to acidic substances. Regular acid exposure causes acid to demineralize, leaving teeth susceptible to infection, further erosion, and decay. Healthy tooth enamel is thick and strong, acid erosion thins the enamel and decreases the tooth’s protective barrier.


What causes acid erosion?


As the name implies, acid erosion is caused by common acidic substances. Common foods and drinks that lead to acid erosion include citrus fruits, carbonated beverages (like soda), and fruit juices. Many patients consume these foods and drinks as healthy choices for their daily diets, without knowing that they may be contributing to acid erosion.


The solution is not to eliminate these foods all together—after all you need fruits for a healthy diet! Rather than avoiding foods that lead to acid erosion, try to rinse your mouth shortly after consuming these substances. It’s also important to avoid brushing, especially aggressive brushing for as long as possible after consuming acidic substances, as this can cause enamel deterioration.


Acid erosion can be managed and prevented when you work in conjunction with a dental professional. Our Elmhurst dental office can help you maintain a healthy and strong smile as you continue to enjoy your favorite foods! Give us a call for more information or to schedule an appointment.