4th December 2012
Sports drinks and energy drinks are highly popular these days, but we need to warn you that they have extremely high acidity levels which can cause irreversible damage to your teeth by eroding their protective enamel layer.
This guide will explore the ins and outs of tooth enamel erosion and how to prevent it.
Enamel is the tough shell protecting your teeth and is actually the hardest tissue in the human body. But because enamel is not made up of living cells, it does not regenerate – this means any damage to it will be permanent.
Enamel helps protect your teeth from daily wear and tear. It also insulates teeth from painful temperatures and harmful chemicals. In addition, if there are cracks in your enamel, food and drinks can seep into your dentin and cause your teeth to become discoloured. All in all, without the protection of this glossy outer layer, teeth become overly sensitive and prone to cavities.
Tooth erosion is caused when sugar creates acids that attack and wear away your enamel, leaving teeth unprotected. Sports and energy drinks tend to have extremely high levels of sugar, while fizzy drinks also contain harmful phosphoric and citric acids. Even fruit drinks can contain natural acids that are more corrosive than battery acid!
Other factors which put enamel at risk are alcohol (especially wine), low saliva flow (since saliva acts to wash away harmful acids) and a diet high in sweet things.
Finally, excessive wear and tear can obviously cause cracks in your enamel, so be sure not to brush your teeth overly hard or open things using your mouth, and speak to your dentist if you find yourself grinding your teeth or even biting your nails often.
Also bear in mind that you could be genetically predisposed to having weak enamel, in which case you’ll need to be extra careful.
These are some of the main signs of enamel erosion:
We strongly recommend you limit your intake of sugary or acidic drinks as much as possible. When you do ingest any of the things listed above that cause acidity, at least rinse your mouth with water or chew sugar-free gum to increase saliva flow.
It’s also wise to wait at least an hour after drinking sports and energy drinks etc. to brush your teeth, as brushing can cause the acid to spread further onto your teeth surfaces.
If you have enamel damage, talk to us so we can advise you further. If we find your enamel erosion is significant, there are remedies we can provide, such as covering the tooth with a bonding or ceramic veneer to prevent further decay.