Dental enamel, the thin, outer layer of hard tissue that protects the tooth and maintains its shape, is subject to erosion and decay. Acidic foods and beverages are among the substances that can adversely affect the enamel. The prolonged exposure to acid that can come from sipping or holding acidic drinks in the mouth before swallowing is not good for the enamel.
Most commercial soft drinks contain acids, which can break down the tooth surface. These acids also damage tooth enamel over time by dissolving the mineral structure of teeth, thinning the enamel. Eventually, because of repeated exposure to acid, the tooth’s enamel will lose its shape and color. As the damage progresses, the underlying dentin—the tissue that makes up the core of the tooth—becomes exposed, causing the teeth to look yellow.
To prevent tooth erosion, wait at least 20 minutes after consuming an acidic food or beverage before brushing the teeth, so as not to damage the weakened enamel. It is safer to eat acidic foods all at the same time, instead of snacking on them throughout the day. Eat these foods only during mealtimes to minimize the amount of time the acid is on your teeth.
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