Starting from the time they take their children to their first dentist appointment, most parents know how important it is for kids to brush their teeth twice a day and floss regularly to protect against tooth decay. But what they don't know is that cavity protection is no longer enough. Today's modern diets, even those that are seemingly healthy, can contribute to acid erosion, a growing and irreversible problem not only among adults, but for children as well.
Acid erosion is loss of tooth enamel caused by acid acting on the tooth's surface, mainly from the consumption of acid-rich food and drinks like pop, fruit juice, ketchup, salad dressings, citrus fruits and even fruits like melons and berries. Once the enamel is weakened or even gone, tooth decay is inevitable.
Parents should be aware of the issue of acid erosion to ensure that they take steps to minimize the risk to their children's teeth. The popular adage is that it's best to brush after every meal; however, children should avoid brushing teeth immediately after consuming acidic food or drinks as this is when the enamel is at its softest. It is a good idea to rinse with water first to dilute the acid and then brush.
According to a recent survey, most parents (93 percent) don't think their children are at risk for acid erosion of teeth, and almost half of the parents said they are not sure if acid erosion of a child's teeth can be repaired or reversed, when, in fact, it can't. Once enamel is lost, it's lost for good.
Parents should not necessarily discourage children from consuming healthy foods and beverages that are acidic. Foods like apples, oranges and yogourt are an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet and a good source of many nutrients. Instead of avoiding serving these, parents need to better understand what simple things they can do to help protect their children from the damaging effects of acid wear."