Dental erosion

Common in both adults and children, this is a gradual attack on tooth enamel that is caused by acid wearing down the tooth surface.

Now becoming much more common due to changes in diet, dental or ‘acid’ erosion is now a real issue with both adults and children. It is caused by acid in food and drink gradually softening tooth enamel which makes it easier to wear down with brushing.

Teeth are used every day and come into contact with a great deal of different foods and chemicals. The mouth is usually a pH neutral environment. However, quite a lot of things in our diet do contain acid. This acid can come from carbonated drinks, wine, salad dressings and even fruit juices. Dental erosion can affect all ages but particularly effects children when teeth are still developing. You may notice that you have acid erosion if your teeth start to change in appearance (discolour) or if you are starting to feel areas of sensitivity.

Erosion is found initially in the enamel and, if unchecked, may proceed to the underlying dentin. Ultimately, if your teeth loose their protective enamel layer, you are more likely to suffer from tooth discolouration or tooth loss. Once acid erosion takes place, it is irreversible, so extra care needs to be taken when looking after you teeth to make sure you are protected.

The most common cause of erosion is by acidic foods and drinks. So by limiting the number of carbonated or acid based drinks you consume, you minimise the effects of acid erosion. Not ‘swishing’ drinks around the mouth for too long or using a straw can also help.
It is also useful to know that you should not seek to brush your teeth immediately after exposure to acidic food to avoid damaging the softened enamel. Instead, wait for a least 30mins to an hour after eating/drinking before brushing.

  • Don't brush immediately after exposure to acidic foods and drinks
  • Limit the amount of carbonated and fruit drinks you consume
  • Use a gentle, pH neutral mouthwash