Our teeth can be worn down by acidic drinks. This kind of tooth wear is called dental erosion.
These acids can come from within the body ‘intrinsic’ and from outside the body ‘extrinsic’.
From inside the body, acids may come from excessive vomiting or acid reflux common in people with heart burn.
From outside the body, acids mainly come from our diet that may include soft drinks i.e. carbonated sodas and soft drinks, excessive lemon etc. appear to be the most common cause of tooth wear in this category.
So how can you control this kind of tooth wear?
Avoid acidic beverages i.e. swishing or holding the liquid in the mouth.
Using a straw may be of help if positioned at the back of the teeth so that the acids don’t bathe the teeth.
NB: avoid placing straw in front of the teeth
Take copious amounts of water or better milk while eating or rinse the mouth following meals, vomiting and after consuming acidic drinks. Milk has high levels of calcium that neutralize the acids and remineralize the tooth.
Saliva helps buffer and remove acids. Sugar free gum can stimulate saliva production.
Avoid brushing teeth immediately after eating or drinking acidic beverages. Wait at least 1 hour after eating, drinking or vomiting.
Always brush teeth using a soft bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
Dr Maria Gorretti Nakyonyi a Dental Surgeon and Projects Secretary, Uganda Dental Association