The tops of these
teeth look like melting popsicles.
It's not decay - the enamel has been
- by acid.
This kind of tooth damage used to be common mainly in
with eating disorders. But the number of patients with
significant damage to their tooth enamel is skyrocketting these days.
We're seeing all kinds of people with the enamel on the tops or sides
of their teeth perforated or completely dissolved away. The damage can
be severe, creating severe wear, and tooth sensitivity that can
ultimately require extensive treatment - and thousands of dollars - to
Among the chief culprits: diet pop and orange juice.
Juice? That's right. These and similar drinks can do
tremendous harm to your teeth. And it's not the sugar - it's the acid.
Did you ever notice your teeth feeling slightly rough
rub them together after having a coke? The enamel has been slightly
etched - making it rough - by the phosphoric acid that is one of the
ingredients. Carbonation itself adds acidity as well as fizz, because
the carbon dioxide creates carbonic acid in solution. Natural products
like lemons and orange juice is also acidic because of the citric and
ascorbic acid they contain. (Even vitamin C can hurt your teeth with
prolongued exposure - this is the reason we suggest swallowing without
sucking on the tablets.)
A wide variety of snack drinks and food - including many
natural juices - have surprisingly low pH (in other words, they're
acidic). Tooth enamel is mostly calcium, and acid will dissolve it the
same way descaler solution dissolves the scale in the bottom of your
kettle. And it takes surprisingly little acidity - anything with a pH
below 5 can do it. Teenagers are the most frequent victims of
acid damage because they drink a lot of pop and juices, and tend to sip
and swish it in their mouths. And here's a statistic for you:
North American women drink more Diet Coke than water!