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Fight acid erosion

HealthBy Sunday World
Fight acid erosion

We all known munching doughnuts washed down with litres of fizzy drinks isn't great for teeth, but there's something else which could be cause for concern. That's acid erosion, which you've likely heard of but probably don't know how to combat.

The problem leaves teeth feeling sensitive because the hard coating over them has been worn away. It can lead to discolouration and is the reason for most cavities.

According to some top dentists, one of the issues is that people misguidedly think some healthier foods will have no impact on teeth.

"Acid erosion is definitely a growing problem. This is partly due to the trend for grabbing acidic juices when on the go or snacking little and often," Dr Adam Thorne told British newspaper The Daily Mail.

"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."

On top of this, it's suggested that not all dentists know enough about the issue. According to Dr Thorne's colleague Dr Mark Hughes, who founded the Harley Street Dental Studio, many signs are missed by professionals because they are focused on other things. Things like gum disease have hit the headlines in the past and so concentrating on searching for signs of that, and keeping the gums healthy, mean acid erosion can be overlooked.

"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," he said.

If you have hollows in your teeth or the edges look like have been worn down, you might be suffering erosion. Similarly, if there are bits of darker yellow on your teeth it could be sign that the dentine is exposed - that's the underneath layer of your teeth.

To help guard against it, limit acidic food and drinks (including diet fizzy versions) to meal times and don't leave liquid swishing in your mouth for periods of time. Cheese and milk can help cancel the acid out, so they are good to have at the end of mealtimes and sugar-free gum can also help.

Don't brush your teeth straight after food though! Every time you eat, your teeth's enamel softens and you lose some minerals, so leave an hour before attacking with a toothbrush to give it time to build up again.

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