CHICAGO (November 19, 2007) - When picking up a prescription at their pharmacy, consumers receive information on potential side effects, which help them to understand the results of taking that medication. Check the nutrition information on a can of soda, carton of yogurt, or jar of pickles, however, and they won't find listed a common and detrimental "side effect" for their oral health: tooth erosion.
Tooth erosion, or tooth wear, is the loss of the tooth structure and is caused by common foods that contain acid, according to an article in the September 2007 issue of AGD Impact, the monthly newsmagazine of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD). Tooth enamel is worn away by acid. The calcium in saliva usually strengthens, or "remineralizes," teeth, but the presence of a lot of acid does not allow for that process to take place.
Who or what is to blame? "Food and drink choices contribute to erosion more often than consumers think," says Craig Valentine, DMD, FAGD, a spokesperson for the AGD. "Starchy foods that contain acid wear away tooth enamel the same way that carbonated soft drinks and sports drinks do." People who suffer from acid reflux or bulimia will also quickly erode the tooth surfaces.
In the past 10 years, he has seen a dramatic increase in erosion in his patients who are between 15-35 years old. Dr. Valentine recommends reading labels for "hidden" acid content, to eat natural foods without additives and to drink water. "If teeth become discolored, rounded, transparent or cracked, patients should see their dentist right away, as these are all signs," he advises.
How to combat erosion every day:
• Reduce or eliminate drinking carbonated drinks.
• Drink acidic drinks quickly or use a straw so that the liquid is pushed to the back of the mouth and away from teeth.
• Rinse the mouth with water after consuming acidic beverages.
• Chew sugar-free gum, which helps increase saliva flow to remineralize teeth.
• Brush with a soft toothbrush and use toothpaste with fluoride.
The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) is a professional association of more than 35,000 general dentists dedicated to staying up-to-date in the profession through continuing education. Founded in 1952, the AGD has grown to become the world's second largest dental association, which is the only association that exclusively represents the needs and interests of general dentists. A general dentist is the primary care provider for patients of all ages and is responsible for the diagnosis, treatment, management and overall coordination of services related to patients' oral health needs. Learn more about AGD member dentists or find more information on dental health topics at www.KnowYourTeeth.com.
Note: Information that appears in General Dentistry, the AGD's peer-reviewed journal, AGD Impact, the AGD's newsmagazine and related press releases do not necessarily reflect the endorsement of the AGD.
*For a complete list of oral health and industry press releases, visit the AGD News Releases.Need help?
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