Although teeth are the hardest parts of our bodies, they do have one weakness: they can be easily destroyed by acid. Acid is the weapon of choice that plaque uses to ruin our teeth and it can be found in many of the drinks that we consume.
We measure acidity using the pH scale. The smaller the pH number the more acidic the drink. As an example, a drink with a pH of 2.0 is a lot more acidic and therefore more damaging, than a drink with a pH of 4.0. Any drink that has a pH of 5.5 or less can dissolve enamel. Below I have listed the pH of some common drinks:
|Sunny Delight||2.4||Grapefruit Juice||3.1|
|Coca Cola/Pepsi (including diet versions)||2.5||Apple Juice||3.2|
|Capri Sun||2.6||Pineapple Juice||3.4|
|Dr Pepper||2.7||Californian Chardonnay||3.4|
Signs of Tooth Erosion
There is never one single sign that your teeth are dissolving but I generally look for the following:
• Chipping or thinning of the enamel
• Cupping or hollowing of the biting surface of the tooth
• Fillings standing proud of the tooth
Are there any drinks that won’t dissolve my teeth?
Generally any drink that has a pH of around 7.0 will not dissolve teeth. So milk, tea, some coffees and of course water, will be kinder to teeth than drinks mentioned in the table above.
Here’s a few tips you can use to reduce tooth erosion:
• Don’t slowly sip acidic drinks. If you are going to drink an acidic drink, do it as quickly as possible to decrease the contact time with your teeth.
• Drink acidic drinks through a straw. By using a straw, you are pushing the drinks directly to the back of your mouth and avoiding some of the contact that the acid has with your teeth.
• Rinse your mouth out after drinking acidic drinks to help flush away some of the harmful acid. Drinking water or milk can help.
• Don’t brush your teeth right after consuming acidic beverages. The acid in the drinks can eat away some of the mineral content of your teeth, leaving behind a soft matrix. Calcium in your saliva can eventually replace the lost tooth structure. However, if you brush right after consuming acidic drinks, you could brush away that enamel matrix, making it impossible for your saliva to repair the damage done by the acidic drink.
• Remember you don’t have to avoid the drinks I’ve mentioned above, just drink them in moderation.