• Wed, Mar 12 2008

Beware the silent Enamel-eating Syndrome.

Did you know that dental erosion or ‘silent enamel-eating syndrome’ is on the rise in the United States (and probably in all Western societies)?

In fact, according the very first dental erosion study conducted in the United States at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, there is a 30 percentage prevalence rate of among 10 to 14 year olds.

According to Dr. Amaechi, the lead researcher on the study, this is due to increased consumption of products such as sports drinks, various fruit juices, soft drinks, yoghurt, raisins, and candy which “…when consumed in excess…can easily strip the enamel from the teeth, leaving the teeth more brittle and sensitive to pain…The acids in these products can be so corrosive that not even cavity-causing bacteria can survive when exposed to them.”

But it’s not just food and drink that can cause this problem. Medications like aspirin, medical condition such as acid reflux disease, and chronic vomiting disorders such as bulimia can also cause dental erosion.

This silent enamel-eating syndrome causes no pain or sensitivity during it’s early stages, so early detection falls on the shoulders of dental practitioners. They will be able to recognize it by the smooth and shiny appearance of the enamel.

Meanwhile, here’s a few tips to help reduce your risk of dental erosion…

  • reduce consumption of sugary sodas, fruit juices and sports drinks, and candy.
  • don’t sip or hold acidic drinks in the mouth before swallowing. This will only increase the risk of erosion on dental enamel.
  • don’t snack on acidic foods throughout the day. Instead eat them in one sitting within five or so minutes.
  •  even better, eat acidic foods only at meal times in order to minimize the amount of time the acid is on the teeth.
  • rinse with water for 30 seconds after acidic food or drink.
  •  if you’ve eaten some acidic foods or drink, wait at least 20 minutes before you brush your teeth so as not to destroy the weakened enamel.

(source)

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  • http://www.breakingthemirror.com Angelique

    This information is absolutely critical — thanks so much for covering it! I know many bulimics try to “hide” this aspect of their bingeing/purging behavior for a long time, but it eventually surfaces.

  • Liz

    Hi Angelique,

    I gather dental erosion is a big ‘tell tale’ sign of bulimia. Now it appears that it’s also a sign of bad diet choices.

    Glad you found it useful.

  • A’Llyn

    Yikes! I eat yogurt nearly every day for breakfast. Didn’t even know it was an acidic food.

  • Liberty

    I’m a huge yogurt-eater too, A’Llyn. And I’ve given up my beloved Diet Soda in exchange for Diet V-8 Splash (definitely considered a fruit juice, I would say). Oy. Will I ever win?!?

  • Liz

    I’d never of thought of yoghurt as causing any havoc. Turns out fresh fruit and other healthy options can also cause some dental erosion…so it’s not just unhealthy foods.

    Apparently, the biggest problem is not what we eat but how we eat it…ie snacking instead of eating it all in five minutes and holding it in our mouths and savouring the flavors instead of swallowing immediately.

    But most interesting thing I found was that you shouldn’t brush your teeth for a good 20 minutes after you’ve eaten otherwise you increase the risk of dental erosion.

    Fascinating!!