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Take Steps to Reduce Mouth Acid and Avoid Dental Erosion

Posted by Dr. Gannon Lee on Aug 21 2020, 06:01 AM

Your teeth’s hard, enamel coating protects them from environmental dangers or disease. But although it’s made of the hardest substance in the human body, the enamel isn’t invincible — prolonged exposure to acid can cause dental erosion, a condition in which the enamel’s mineral content permanently dissolves, a process is known as de-mineralization.

De-mineralization occurs anytime our mouth environment becomes too acidic due to eating or drinking items with high acid content. Saliva normally neutralizes mouth acid in thirty minutes to an hour after we eat, as well as restores mineral content to the enamel (re-mineralization). The danger arises, though, if the saliva’s buffering action is overwhelmed by chronic acidity, caused mainly by constant snacking or sipping on acidic foods and beverages throughout the day — in this situation, saliva can’t complete the process of buffering and re-mineralization.

As a result, the enamel may permanently lose its mineral content and strength over time. This permanent dental erosion leads to serious consequences: the teeth become more susceptible to decay; the dentin becomes exposed, which causes pain and sensitivity to pressure and temperature changes; and changes in the teeth’ size and color can negatively alter your appearance.

It’s important to take action then before dental erosion occurs. Along with daily oral hygiene, restrict your consumption of acidic foods and beverages to mealtimes, and cut back on between-meal snacks. Rather than a sports drink after exercising, drink nature’s hydrator — water. You should also alter your brushing habits slightly — rather than brush right after you eat, wait thirty minutes to an hour. This gives saliva time to restore the mouth to its normal pH and re-mineralize the enamel. Brushing right after can remove even more of the minerals in softened enamel.

If significant erosion has occurred, there are a number of treatment options we can undertake to preserve the remaining tooth structure and enhance your appearance. In moderate cases, we can reshape and cover damaged teeth using dental materials like composite resins or porcelain to fill decayed areas or cover teeth with veneers or crowns.

The key, of course, is to identify dental erosion through clinical examination as soon as possible to minimize damage. Your enamel plays a critical role in protecting your teeth from disease — so take the right steps to protect your enamel.


If you would like more information on protecting your enamel, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Erosion.”

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26302 La Paz Rd Suite 210
Mission Viejo, CA, 92691

Dr. Gannon Lee DDS

26302 La Paz Rd Suite 210

Tel: (949) 380-0315

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