Acid erosion occurs when the enamel is worn away and it can be painful, fizzy drinks and fruit juices are common causes for the erosion, but dentists also think carbonated water can lead to cavities and yellowing our teeth are under attack from a growing problem that many dentists are failing to treat.
It’s acid erosion and it occurs when the enamel – the hard, protective coating of the tooth – is worn away, leading to sensitivity and pain.
It is responsible for 80 per cent of problems such as cavities and yellowing, and food and drink with a high acid content, including fizzy drinks and fruit juices, are common causes.
Acid erosion occurs when the enamel – the hard, protective coating of the tooth – is worn away, leading to sensitivity and pain
Patients may need veneers in the most severe cases.
Dr Mark Hughes, co-founder of the Harley Street Dental Studio, says the problem is a growing one, thanks to people retaining their own teeth into older age. And he warns that some dentists are so preoccupied with treating gum disease and tooth decay that vital chances to tackle erosion are being missed.
He says: ‘Dentists may know how to spot the signs, but a lack of education about erosion means you could pick ten dentists at random and I’d say only two would know how to handle the problem.
‘It can accelerate quickly and needs to be dealt with before it’s too late.’
Erosion occurs when acid hits the surface of the tooth, softening the top layer and making it more fragile.
It can expose the dentine underneath, which is a darker, yellower colour than enamel, and make you more sensitive to heat and cold.
‘Healthy habits’, such as sipping carbonated water or fruit juices can hasten the damage
Dr Hughes’s colleague Dr Adam Thorne says so-called ‘healthy habits’, such as sipping carbonated water or fruit juices, can hasten the damage.
‘Acid erosion is definitely a growing problem,’ he says. ‘This is partly due to the trend for grabbing acidic juices when on the go or snacking little and often.
‘It means our teeth are exposed to acid throughout the day, rather than sticking to three meals a day. Carbonated water is another culprit, if you constantly sip rather than drinking a glass in one go. Try to use a straw to direct the water down your throat rather than towards your teeth.’
Their comments come as new research from enamel-repair serum brand Regenerate Enamel Science reveals that half of women see a healthy smile as being more important than having the perfect figure.
The poll of 1,000 women also revealed that one in five of those surveyed who said having a healthy smile was important had not been to the dentist in more than a year.