How to Keep Your Teeth From Dissolving

teeth, beverages, cavities, dental health, acidity, dental erosion, juice, soda, lemon, vinegarResearchers 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 teas may have already begun to take effect.

In a recent study, Dr. Mohamed A. Bassiouny 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 source of erosion. Then, you should determine and understand how this source affects the teeth in order to implement measures to control and prevent further damage. Lastly, you should stop or reduce consumption of the suspected food or beverage to the absolute minimum.

Information about the acid content of commonly consumed foods or beverages is usually available online or on the product's label.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Soda and other sweet beverages, including 100 percent fruit juices, have long been known to increase your risk of cavities. However, many of these types of beverages supply a double-whammy because they also cause dental erosion, which is a condition independent of the microbial action that produces cavities.

Even “Healthy” Beverages Can Damage Your Teeth if Consumed in Excess

Unlike caries, dental erosion is a process of incremental decalcification, which, over time, literally dissolves your teeth.

This study evaluated the ability of several common beverages to initiate dental erosion:

  • Tap water caused no damage

  • Tea showed the smallest amount of damage

  • Soda caused significantly more damage than tea

  • Orange juice caused about the same level of enamel damage as soda

  • Grapefruit juice, lemon juice, and vinegar caused the greatest amount of erosion

Normally I advice against fruit juices for their ability to raise insulin levels similarly to other sugary drinks, but clearly they can also be severely damaging to your teeth.

Parents who routinely allow their children to indulge in juices rather than water may think they’re providing healthy nutrients, but their destructive nature on teeth may outweigh some of those benefits.

Sports drinks are another popular beverage choice, even for young children. Although sports drinks were not assessed in this study, other research has confirmed that the high acidity levels designed to keep sports drinks on the shelf longer can also dissolve tooth enamel, the hard dentine underneath, and expose the pulp of your tooth.

In fact, sports drinks meant for rehydrating your body are up to 30 times more erosive to your teeth than water.

Reducing or eliminating as many erosive beverages as possible from your diet, as recommended in the study above, should be a no-brainer if you want to protect your teeth from unnecessary damage.

Filtered pure WATER is clearly your absolute best beverage option regardless of your age – both for hydration, and dental health.

And stick to plain, non-carbonated water. Previous research has found that carbonated drinks have an erosive effect on your teeth. It is believed the carbonation changes the pH in your mouth, weakening and slowly dissolving the enamel in your teeth.

I also mention filtered water because as you’re probably aware of by now, fluoride (which is added to most public water supplies) is NOT the answer to preventing cavities.

Fluoride is a highly toxic agent that can cause significant health problems.

Improper Tooth Brushing Technique Can Damage Your Gums

Keep in mind that brushing your teeth too hard and for longer than is necessary may also cause damage to enamel and gums, and may not even make your teeth any cleaner.

According to previous research, the ideal brushing time is two minutes and the ideal pressure 150 grams, which is about the weight of an orange. They found that when people brushed for longer than two minutes using pressure greater than 150 grams, no additional plaque was removed, so there’s simply no need to brush longer or harder than that.

If you are uncertain about the proper way to brush your teeth, or need advice on the correct size, shape and consistency of your toothbrush, talk to your dentist or dental hygienist.

The Best Way to Ensure Healthy Teeth

Anyone who has ever read the book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration will soon recognize that diet is a major factor in dental health.

Dr. Price wrote this book in 1920 and it is full of pictures of cultures with excellent dental health that rapidly deteriorated once processed Western food was introduced.

When Dr. Price studied these native diets, he noticed some similarities in the foods that kept them so healthy. Among them:

  • The foods were natural, unprocessed, and organic (and contained no sugar except for the occasional bit of honey or maple syrup).

  • The people ate foods that grew in their native environment. In other words, they ate locally grown, seasonal foods.

  • Many of the cultures ate unpasteurized dairy products, and all of them ate fermented foods.

  • The people ate a significant portion of their food raw.

  • All of the cultures ate animal products, including animal fat and, often, full-fat butter and organ meats.

When Dr. Price analyzed his findings, he found that the native diets contained 10 times the amount of fat-soluble vitamins, and at least four times the amount of calcium, other minerals, and water-soluble vitamins as that of Western diets at that time.

Their diets were also rich in enzymes because they ate fermented and raw foods (enzymes help you to digest cooked foods), and contained at least 10 times more omega-3 fat than modern diets, and FAR less omega-6 fats.

I believe it’s virtually impossible to have wholly undamaged teeth without an optimal diet, no matter what other preventive methods you use. So, for optimally healthy teeth, I strongly recommend following these dietary guidelines:

All of the brushing and flossing in the world will not give you the healthy teeth that the above steps will, so if you value your pearly whites, get started eating a healthier diet today.