Teeth erosion?

Teeth erosion?

Frequently asked questions about acid erosion

  1. What is acid erosion?
  2. What causes acid erosion?
  3. How can I prevent acid erosion?


1. What is acid erosion on teeth?

Acid erosion is defined as the loss of enamel on the tooth surface caused by acid attack. Teeth are comprised of enamel, dentine, and nerves. Enamel is the white, hard, outer shell of the tooth, which protects the weaker, sensitive dentine underneath, and nerve in the centre of the tooth. Enamel is slowly and naturally worn down throughout life but this process is accelerated with excessive acid consumption. When the enamel is worn away, the dentine is exposed which can lead to pain and sensitivity.

Acid erosion causes demineralisation, or softening, of the enamel, which leads to the enamel thinning down and eventually exposing dentine. When dentine is exposed, it erodes at a much faster pace than enamel which risks exposing the nerve. The process of demineralisation is an ongoing, continuous cycle which cannot be prevented, however with correct brushing, flossing, the use of fluoride toothpaste and minimising sugar intake, the teeth can remineralise, or harden, to prevent acidic erosion.

Acidic erosion looks like small pits, ditches or cups within the enamel and dentine and most frequently occurs on the biting edges of the teeth and the palate surface of the front teeth.

Acidic erosion may cause sensitivity in the form of a short, sharp pain when consuming hot or cold drinks and foods. If this starts to occur, you should inform your dentist at your next check-up appointment.


2. What causes acid erosion?

Acid erosion is caused by consumption of acidic food and drinks, such as:

  • Drinks
    • Carbonated/fizzy drinks
    • Fruit juice and squash
    • Herbal tea (excluding green tea and camomile tea)
    • Sports drinks
    • Swishing acidic drinks in your mouth before swallowing.
    • Alcohol
  • Foods
    • Fruit
    • Sweets
    • Sugary foods (e.g., doughnuts, ice cream)
    • Pickled foods
  • Medical conditions which cause vomiting
    • Bulimia
    • Acid reflux
  • Chewable vitamin C tablets
  • Dry mouth – saliva helps neutralise acid and remineralise the teeth


3. How can I prevent acid erosion?

  • Acid erosion can be prevented by reducing the consumption of acidic foods and drinks.
  • When consuming acidic drinks, they should be drunk quickly with a straw as this allows the acid to bypass the teeth.
  • When consuming acid, try to consume it all in one go e.g., consume sugary foods and drinks together to reduce the frequency of acid exposure on the teeth
  • Finish a meal on an alkaline food or drink, such as cheese, sugar-free yoghurt, or milk to help neutralise the acid in the mouth.
  • Wait for 1 hour after eating and drinking before brushing your teeth
  • Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Contact your GP if you think you have a medical condition which is causing vomiting or a dry mouth
  • Contact your dentist for dietary advice and oral hygiene instructions

Your dentist will inform you if you have acidic erosion and will educate you on how to prevent further damage.


If you would like more information about acid erosion, oral hygiene or diet advice, why not give us a call on 01772 335207 or fill out the contact form and we will be in touch.

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