According to new research from the University of Adelaide published in the Journal of Dentistry, acidic food begins to damage teeth very quickly. For the first time, researchers have been able to document the rapidity of acid’s attack on teeth.
They found that essentially permanent damage to tooth enamel was caused within the first 30 seconds of the mouth being exposed to highly acidic conditions. (Permanent, that is, until enamel regeneration becomes available.)
A “Triple Threat” to Teeth
Dr. Sarbin Ranjikar, a member of the Craniofacial Biology Research Group that worked on the research, says highly acidic drinks like soda pop and sports drinks are part of a triple threat to children’s teeth. In addition to the damage of acidic foods, children may suffer damage as a result of clenching or grinding their teeth at night and acid reflux.
Although Dr. Ranjikar directed his remarks to children’s oral health, possibly in association with ADA’s child-focused message for Dental Health Week, they are just as relevant, if not more so, to adults.
Although children may be more likely to consume sugary, acidic drinks like soda, many adults consume them too often as well. And with the stresses of daily life, many adults grind or clench their teeth at night (though for some people this behaviour has nothing to do with stress), and many have acid reflux as well (which may be associated with obesity).
How to Protect Your Teeth
Since we are all facing this triple threat to our teeth, it’s important that we all seriously consider what we can do to protect our teeth from damage and destruction. First, review our recommendations for avoiding damage due to acidic food and drink.
Next, don’t ignore teeth clenching. If you’re noticing it during the day, talk to a neuromuscular dentist about it. Teeth clenching can not only damage your teeth, it can contribute to TMJ.
Finally, take what steps you can to control GERD. If you are suffering from the condition, and you have tried lifestyle changes but you continue to suffer from regular heartburn, talk to a doctor.
Taking these steps will help you protect your teeth for a lifetime of healthy and beautiful service.