Dental erosionMarch 21, 2005
Frequently consuming foods with a low pH value, such as soft drinks, fruit juices, pickles, fresh fruit and yogurt can lead to irreversible dental erosion, according to a report in the January/February issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry's (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal. Dental erosion is the break down of tooth structure caused by the effect of acid on the teeth. Dental enamel is the thin, outer layer of hard tissue that helps maintain the tooth's structure and shape while protecting it from decay.
"A low pH environment in the mouth helps contribute to dental erosion," says Samantha Shipley, DDS, and lead author of the report.
pH (potential of hydrogen) is a standard way to measure the acidity of a substance. It is measured on a scale of 0 to 14. A lower pH means that a solution contains more acid. The higher the pH, the more alkaline (or non-acidic) the solution will be. When a solution is neither acid nor alkaline it has a pH of 7, which is neutral.
When food or drink that is acidic is consumed the enamel will soften for a short amount of time. Typically, saliva slowly helps to restore the natural balance of the acid found in the mouth. If foods high in acid are consumed on an excessive basis, the mouth can't repair itself and the greater the chance for dental erosion, says Dr. Shipley.
"As the availability of soft drinks increase so does the amount of erosion in our population," says Dr. Shipley. "The primary action patients can take to decrease their likelihood of erosion is to reduce consumption of sugary sodas, fruit juices and sports drinks."
"Vegetarian diets and diets in which fruit comprises more than 66 percent of the total food intake also makes patients more susceptible to erosion," says Dr. Shipley. "Erosion can also be caused by stomach acids introduced into the mouth through vomiting and acid reflux."
"These findings are important and suggest that caution should be exercised when consuming certain foods over long periods of time," says AGD spokesperson Cynthia E. Sherwood, DDS.
Acids found in common foods:
- Soft drinks - Phosphoric acid
- Fruit and fruit products - Citric and malic acids
- Fermented products (yogurt) - Lactic acid
- Grapes and wines - Tartaric acid
- Chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva flow
- Rinse with water for 30 seconds
- Use a fluoride toothpaste
Academy of General Dentistry
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Related Erosion Reading:
Erosion: Changing Earth's Surface (Amazing Science)
by Robin Koontz (Author), Matthew Harrad (Illustrator)
Did you know that rain, waves, wind, snow, and ice can change the shape of Earth’s surface? They can create valleys, sea stacks, caves, and rock arches. Learn about the natural forces of erosion and how they shape the land. View Details
Weathering and Erosion (Science Readers: Content and Literacy)
by Torrey Maloof (Author)
The Earth's surface is always changing. Learn how weathering and erosion constantly reshapes the earth through wind, water, and more! Even people can drastically change the earth's surface. With the help of easy-to-read text and bright, colorful images, this reader simplifies challenging scientific topics while keeping students engaged from cover to cover. This reader also includes instructions for an engaging science activity where students can see what happens when land erodes. A helpful glossary and index are also included for additional support. View Details
Cracking Up: A Story About Erosion (Science Works)
by Jacqui Bailey (Author), Matthew Lilly (Illustrator)
Describes the process of erosion and how water, ice, wind, and sun wear away at Earth's surface. View Details
Erosion (Reading Essentials in Science)
by Virginia Castleman (Author)
Earth is changing every day as a result of erosion, and weather plays a major part. View Details
Erosion (Let's Explore Science)
by Shirley Duke (Author)
Examines the different forces of erosion, such as wind, waves, acid rain, and glaciers and explains how those forces affect the topography of the earth. View Details
Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations
by David R. Montgomery (Author)
Dirt, soil, call it what you want—it's everywhere we go. It is the root of our existence, supporting our feet, our farms, our cities. This fascinating yet disquieting book finds, however, that we are running out of dirt, and it's no laughing matter. An engaging natural and cultural history of soil that sweeps from ancient civilizations to modern times, Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations explores the compelling idea that we are—and have long been—using up Earth's soil. Once bare of protective vegetation and exposed to wind and rain, cultivated soils erode bit by bit, slowly enough... View Details
Soil Erosion and How to Prevent It (Everybody Digs Soil)
by Natalie Hyde (Author)
Looks at the processes of weathering, erosion, and deposition, and how they affect plant and animal life. View Details
Erosion (Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets)
by Jorie Graham (Author)
. . . . How clean
the mind is,
holy grave. It is this girl
della Francesca, unbuttoning
her blue dress,
her mantle of weather,
to go into
labor. Come, we can go in.
It is before
the birth of god. No-one
has risen yet
to the museums, to the assembly
and wings to the open air
market. This is
what the living do: go in.
It's a long... View Details
Erosion and Weathering (Rocks: The Hard Facts)
by Willa Dee (Author)
Discusses the different causes of erosion and weathering, how these phenomena create problems for people, and their role in the rock cycle. View Details
Examining Erosion (Searchlight Books)
by Joelle Riley (Author)
Introduces the concept of erosion, including why it happens, the difference between gradual and drastic erosion, and why erosion is important to the Earth's rock cycle. View Details