It’s no secret; most of your favorite beverages contain a lot of sugar. Sugar in beverages, along with bacteria in the mouth, creates acids that can decay teeth. But did you know that many popular beverages such as pop, fruit juices and sport drinks, also contain acids that can damage teeth and lead to tooth sensitivity and pain? This is known as tooth erosion – the irreversible loss of tooth enamel caused by lengthy and repeated exposure to acidic substances.
Teenagers can be particularly prone to tooth erosion because of their tooth enamel and the impact of lifestyle choices, including drinking acidic beverages and poor oral hygiene. Because tooth erosion cannot be reversed, prevention is important:
- Drink water for thirst and milk with meals
- Reduce number of acidic beverages and use a straw for drinking them
- Rinse your mouth with water to remove acids
- Wait 30 minutes to brush your teeth after drinking an acidic beverage to prevent tooth enamel damage
- Brush twice a day with toothpaste containing fluoride to strengthen teeth and floss daily
- Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and additional preventive treatments
The Eggsperiment – Calcium is a major part of tooth enamel. Check out how acid affects calcium, the mineral that keeps an eggshell hard. Gently place a hard-boiled egg with it’s shell into a container of vinegar until it is completely covered. Let the egg sit for at least 24 hrs. Observe what happens to the shell, how is this similar to tooth erosion?