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Even if you brush your teeth properly and floss regularly, your teeth can still become damaged. Most people know to avoid excessive amounts of sugar and sugary candy as the sugar can cling to your teeth. But, there is another danger to worry about. You also need to avoid drinking too many acidic beverages.
What Are Acidic Drinks?
What are acidic drinks? This includes any beverage that has a very low pH level. The pH level is a scale that measures the acidity or alkalinity of a substance or liquid. A pH level of 7 considered neutral while a pH level of 14 is considered highly alkaline. A pH level of 3 or less is highly acidic.
The most acidic beverages include fruit juices and soda. Diet soda may be sugar-free, but it is still just as acidic as other soda. As little as one cup of acidic beverages per day is enough to begin damaging your teeth.
How Does the Acidity Hurt Your Teeth?
Why should you avoid acidic drinks? Drinks that have a pH level between 1 and 3 are highly acidic. The acid can eat away at the outer layer of your teeth. This outer layer is referred to as enamel. The enamel provides protection. As the acid eats its way through this enamel, you are more prone to develop cavities and other oral hygiene issues.
When your tooth enamel erodes, the layer underneath is exposed. This is a yellow-colored layer referred to as dentin. This is the reason that teeth begin to look yellowish without regular care. The enamel wears thin, exposing the yellowish dentin layer.
As mentioned, the enamel protects your teeth. With this layer gone, you may notice an increased sensitivity to certain foods and drinks.
You can think of enamel as the shield that protects your teeth from the stuff you eat and drink. Without this protection, your teeth are in danger. Constantly drinking acidic drinks will continue to damage your teeth. You will be more likely to develop plaque and bacteria, leading to early tooth decay.
How does the acid erode the enamel? By leaching calcium away from your teeth. Calcium is one of the building blocks of strong, healthy teeth. The acid from acidic drinks can eat away at the calcium, along the enamel to break down and decay.
What Drinks Should You Avoid?
The most common culprit of enamel decay is fruit juice. But, there are plenty of other drinks that you should avoid or limit, including:
Sugary sports drinks
Fruit juice, especially lemon, orange, and apple juice, are all highly acidic. They are the most acidic beverages in this list. In addition to cutting back on these drinks, you should pay attention to how much citric fruit you eat. Oranges and other citrus fruits are just as acidic as the beverages they are used to make.
Wine can soften your enamel and lead to tooth decay. Carbonated beverages, including all soda pops, can also lead to the loss of enamel. Sugary sports drinks are another beverage to cut down on.
You do not need to completely avoid these beverages, but you should avoid drinking them too frequently. You should also drink them with a meal. This will help dilute some of the acidic content of the beverage. You could also have a glass of water after your meal. This will further dilute the acidic content and even help with the digestion of your food.
After eating, wait 30 minutes before brushing your teeth. Your enamel will still be sensitive from drinking an acidic beverage, so brushing your teeth could lead to further damage. Wait 30 minutes to give your enamel time to recover.
What Are the Signs of Tooth Erosion?
How do you know if your enamel is beginning to erode? The most common signs include sensitivity and discoloration. As the enamel wears down, you may notice sensitivity when drinking hot or cold beverages or eating hot or cold food. As mentioned, your teeth may also begin to yellow, as the dentin layer begins to show.
A few other signs of tooth erosion include transparency, cracks, rounded teeth, and cupping. The erosion of enamel can have various physical effects on the shape and condition of your teeth. They may begin to appear rounded.
You may also notice small dents along the surface of your teeth where the enamel has worn away. In some areas, such as along the edges, you may notice that your teeth appear slightly translucent. Small cracks can also appear near the edges.
Try to cut back on your consumption of acidic beverages to protect your enamel. If you do drink acidic beverages, have them with a meal and wait 30 minutes before brushing. Also, if you notice any of the signs of tooth erosion, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Veneers, crowns, and other dental procedures may be able to restore the condition of your teeth.
Bio – Paul Murphy, the author of this article writes on behalf of http://www.thantakit.com/, a leading dental center in Bangkok, Thailand.