Congratulations! Being a human who is able to read these words, you most likely own a set of teeth, or ‘chompers’ as the kids say. They are super useful things. They allow you to not only easily digest delicious food, but also give you the ability to deliver a smile, and assist you with speech.
For those of you without your own set, you probably should’ve read this article before you lost them.
Diet affects the health of your teeth. The different attributes of the food and drink that you choose to ingest can have a number of different effects on your smile. By educating yourself about the consequences of eating and drinking certain things, you can make choices that will result in you enjoying your own set of healthy teeth for years to come.
This week, let’s have a look at an ever-more-prevalent issue: acid wear.
We all remember the 0 to 14 pH scale of acid to alkaline from high school chemistry class. Acidic substances, such as vinegar and citrus juices, are shown with a value below 7, and alkaline substances, such as household cleaners, are shown with values above 7. The further away from a neutral 7 you get, the more extreme the acidity or alkalinity of the substance.
From what we know from action movies, a strong enough acid will burn through a concrete warehouse floor. Rest assured, from this point on I will not be using action movies as my information references.
But it’s undeniable. Acid eats through things. That’s a cold, hard fact. And when it comes to your teeth, if you or your children choose to ingest an inadvisable amount of acidic substances, you’ll soon see your teeth being eroded by acid wear.
It’s been found that tooth enamel begins to erode at a pH level of 5 – 5.5, and accelerates the lower the pH (and therefore, the higher the acidity) gets. But what does that mean in real terms? For those without a chemistry degree, pH numbers can be about as insightful as listening to a lecture from the Muppets’ Swedish chef. So let’s look at some common foods and drinks, and where they sit.
Just for purposes of comparison, a bottle of distilled water sits at a neutral pH of 7, and your car’s battery acid sits at a pH of 0.
- Milk, essentially neutral, usually has a pH of over 6.5
- Pure rain, which has fallen through our C02 heavy atmosphere, has a pH of between 5.5 and 6
- Beer and coffee hover in a range between 4 and 5
- Orange juice weighs in with a pH range of 3.5 to 4
- Vinegar, being too acidic to drink, sits at pH 3
- Lemon juice is usually just above 2
- And the Gastric fluid in your stomach that you rely on to break down your food hits a low mark of 1
It has been demonstrated that at a pH of 2.5, the erosion of teeth is incredibly rapid. Looking at the list above, it’s lucky that not many of us feel the need to chug lemon juice or vinegar too often. But have a wild guess as to what does sit right on that pH level of 2.5.
That’s right – Soft drinks .
Carbonated beverages are unbelievably acidic. Unfortunately for our teeth, many of us also find them unbelievably tasty.
People are well aware of the damage they may be causing their body by ingesting the amount of sugar that soft drinks contain. But what is less acknowledged is the damage that they can cause to their teeth. High soft drink intake is a major cause of dental issues, with acid wear leading the charge.
So what’s the best way for your family to hold acid wear at bay?
Firstly, it’s important that you minimise the intake of soft drinks, as well as acidic fruit juices. For adults, taking it easy on the coffees, beers and wines is also important. As with anything in life, moderation is the key. If you do feel like a soft drink, be sure to drink it through a straw. This helps to bypass the teeth, leaving them less affected.
And be sure to make a regular visit your dentist. They’ll spot problems before they become major issues, and give you guidance on the best way to keep you smile beautiful for life.
Think of your teeth as a warehouse floor, and soft drink as the acid that a criminal mastermind is somehow using to take over the world. And you’re action star Chuck Norris, sipping orange juice through a straw, and saving the world.
Need some advice? Need a check up? Give those teeth the love they need. Contact Dr Nobrega’s office on 07 5456 1144 or email firstname.lastname@example.org