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Acid in Food and Beverages Can Harm Your Teeth

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8615 NE Hazel Dell Avenue, Vancouver, WA  98665

(360) 574-7477


Acid in Food and Beverages can Harm Your Teeth

Symptoms of acid erosion  include "cupped" areas on cusp tips on premolars or molars and sometimes larger areas of enamel loss on front or back surfaces of teeth.  The symptoms typically occur over years, unless a patient adopts an especially destructive habit.

Causes of acid erosion  typically include frequent exposure of the teeth to acid in food and beverages.  It has become very popular in our culture to consume beverages non-stop.  Many of us sip a beverage all day and in to the evening, at a desk, in a car, in front of a computer, playing video games, or attending a sporting event.  Every sip of a beverage or nibble of a food alters conditions in your mouth for up to half an hour.  Look at the labels of your favorite items, and you are likely to find high concentrations of phosphoric acid, citric acid, nitric acid and more.  Carbonated beverages are usually contain acid, and so do many sports drinks, coffee, tea, fruit juices, etc.  Those who swim in chlorinated pools frequently can suffer from exposure to chlorine in the water.  Your dentist can tell you if acid erosion is present during a routine exam. Additional causes of acid erosion include eating disorders, GERD (gastro-esophogeal reflux disease),

Advanced cases of acid erosion can cause severe loss of tooth structure, where the teeth become substantially shorter, causing the bite to close, and your chin can actually get closer to your nose.  Some patients lose most of the enamel on effected tooth surfaces, so chewing surfaces of back teeth lose the cusps and grooves resulting in flat chewing surfaces.  Extreme cases require restoration of all of the teeth with crowns or veneers. 

Prevention of acid erosion is very easy - simply reduce the frequency of exposure to acid in your diet.  So, instead of gradually sipping that 32-ounce cup of diet pop over the course of several hours, reduce your dose to a single small cup during a meal, and skip the sipping.  Finish your juice, coffee, or tea during a break instead of spreading it out.  Brush with baking soda to neutralize the acid after an exposure.


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Portrait of Keith W. Collins, DMD

Keith Collins,  DMD

Dr. Collins graduated from Oregon Health Sciences University in 1978.  In addition to caring for patients in private practice, he has enjoyed lecturing and contributing to dental journals.  In 1995 he co-directed the AAID Implant Maxi-Course at OHSU. 


Click here for more info on Dr. Collins.


Click here to "Meet Dr. Collins" on YouTube.


Click here to see Dr. Collins work with the American Dental Association and the Partnership for a Drug Free America on YouTube. 


Click here to see the meth mouth story Dr. Collins produced with Inside Edition.


The information provided on this site is to help educate patients, and is not intended as a guide for self-diagnosis or treatment.  Please rely on your dentist for diagnosis and treatment of oral conditions.


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Copyright 1995-2013, Keith W. Collins, DMD    Last modified: October 31, 2014.