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How to manage erosion caused by everyday beverages

Researchers have warned people to beware of the damage that acidic beverages have on teeth. Yet, for some, the damage and problems associated with drinking sodas, citric juices or certain tea may have already begun to take effect. The question remains: What can be done to restore teeth already affected?

In a recent study that appeared in the May/June 2009 issue of General Dentistry, the AGD's clinical, peer-reviewed journal, lead author, Mohamed A. Bassiouny, DMD, MSc., PhD, outlined the acidic content of beverages, such as soda; lemon, grapefruit and orange juice; green and black tea; and revealed three steps to rehabilitate teeth that suffer from dental erosion as a result of the excessive consumption of these products.

Dr. Bassiouny instructs those who are experiencing tooth erosion to first, identify the culprit source of erosion, possibly with the help of a dental professional. Then, the individual should determine and understand how this source affects the teeth in order to implement measures to control and prevent further damage. Lastly, the person should stop or reduce consumption of the suspected food or beverage to the absolute minimum. He notes that information about the acid content of commonly consumed foods or beverages is usually available online or on the product's label. It is also recommended to seek professional dental advice in order to possibly restore the damaged tissues.

"Dental erosion," according to Dr. Bassiouny, "is a demineralization process that affects hard dental tissues (such as enamel and dentin)." This process causes tooth structure to wear away due to the effects that acid has on teeth, which eventually leads to their breakdown. It can be triggered by consumption of carbonated beverages or citric juices with a low potential of hydrogen (pH), which measures the acidity of a substance. Excessive consumption of the acidic beverages over a prolonged period of time may pose a risk factor for dental health.

"Some may not even realize a problem exists when their teeth are in the early stages of dental erosion," says Kenton Ross, DDS, FAGD, a spokesperson for the AGD. "Without proper diagnosis by a general dentist, more serious oral health issues could occur."

"Visiting your general dentists twice a year can help maintain healthy teeth as well as uncover and prevent future problems," says Dr. Ross.

Stefanie Schroeder | EurekAlert!
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