Dr. Wright at Coppell Dental Care offers some tips on reducing tooth erosion when acid starts to attack your teeth.
- Seek medical attention for anorexia/bulimia or gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD).
- Reduce or eliminate frequent exposure to acidic soft drinks and juices.
- If acidic drinks are consumed, avoid erosion-inducing habits, such as sipping, swishing, or holding drinks in the mouth. Drink with a straw, ensuring the flow is not aimed directly at any individual tooth surface.
- Avoid tooth brushing immediately before an erosive challenge (vomiting, consumption of acid beverages). The acquired pellicle (coating of teeth supplied by the saliva) provides protection against erosion. Tooth brushing—especially with highly abrasive whitening toothpaste—will remove the pellicle.
- Avoid tooth brushing immediately after an erosive challenge (vomiting, consumption of acid beverages). Enamel remains softened and susceptible to mechanical tooth wear (abrasion, attrition) for at least one hour after an erosive challenge. Rinse you mouth out thoroughly with plain water.
- Use a soft toothbrush and low abrasion toothpaste to minimize any additional tooth wear. Colgate regular and any toothpaste with baking soda is usually low abrasion, pastes are less abrasive than gels, and single-component toothpastes are better than ones that have whitening, plaque control, mouth wash, etc. NEVER use Topol or “smoker’s toothpaste” as these are highly abrasive. To minimize tooth wear at the gum line, brush the outer surfaces of the teeth last—after the toothpaste’s abrasiveness has worn down from its initial use.
- ProNamel toothpaste (OTC) and Prevident 5000+ products (RX) help prevent erosion.
- Use a remineralizing/neutralizing fluoride rinse, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) solution, milk, or food such as cheese or sugar-free yogurt, after an erosive exposure.
- Stimulate saliva flow with, for example, a sugar-free chewing gum or lozenge designed for such purpose. The use of a sugar-free lozenge may be more advisable since gum chewing may have an abrasive effect on softened tooth structure.
- Consider using modified acidic beverages with reduced erosive potential instead of regular products. For example, low acid orange juice.
Please consult The American Dental Association website www.ada.org and The Academy of General Dentistry website www.agd.org for additional information.
Source: AGD Impact, May 2009; 36: Zero D, Lussi A. “Erosion—Chemical and Biological Factors of Importance to the Dental Practitioner.” Int Dent Journal 2005; 55: 285-290.