New research from the University of Adelaide shows that acidic food begins to damage teeth very quickly. Although we have always known that acidic foods can readily damage teeth, this is the first time we have had a sense of just how quickly serious damage to the teeth can begin.
A “Triple Threat” to Teeth
The study was performed by the Craniofacial Biology Research Group and published in the Journal of Dentistry. Dr. Sarbin Ranjikar, a member of the research team, says that highly acidic foods and drinks are one part of a triple threat that is damaging the teeth of children. Children’s teeth are also at risk because of bruxism and acid reflux, which together combine to cause serious tooth erosion.
Dr. Ranjikar likely directed his remarks to children’s oral health because they were made as part of the Australian Dental Association’s Dental Health Week, which this year is focused on children’s oral health. The truth is that these risks are just as relevant to adults as to children.
Children may be more likely to drink more soda, but adults certainly consume their share of sugary, acidic drinks, such as sports drinks and energy drinks, which can be just as acidic as soda. Tooth grinding is also a behavior we might commonly find among adults, sometimes worsened by stress. Acid reflux has become a common ailment, often because of diet, stress, and obesity.
How to Protect Your Teeth
With all of our teeth facing these damaging conditions, it’s important to take steps to reduce damage and protect our teeth for long-term health. First, follow our hints and tips for reducing damage from acidic foods.
Next, pay attention to signs that you might be clenching your teeth. If you’re doing it during the day, try to be conscious of it and stop yourself, although this is easier said than done. If stress contributes to the behavior, try to reduce it. Also, try to figure out if you are clenching your teeth at night. If you’re waking up in the morning with a sore jaw, either in the muscles or in the bones and teeth.
When it occurs regularly, acid reflux is described as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If you think you might have this condition, talk to your doctor about it.
Ideally, prevention is better than repair, but if your teeth have suffered damage as a result of this triple threat, reconstructive dentistry can give you your smile back.