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Acid is a naturally occurring substance. People tend to think of acid in terms of batteries, or something that you wouldn’t want to spill in a lab. But acid turns up in many places, including in our mouths and on our teeth. When acid comes into contact with your teeth, it will attack the enamel opening the door to tooth decay and possibly an infection of your tooth pulp.

Citrus fruits are high in acid, but they are also high in vitamins. So, keep eating fruit since it is good for you, but be sure to brush and drink some water after you enjoy a piece of citrus fruit or a glass of fruit juice. You may want to use a straw with fruit juice to lessen its contact with your teeth.

Many people enjoy soft drinks, but they contain sugar, which works with the plaque on your teeth to produce acid. Diet soft drinks, energy drinks and sports drinks also contain acid that can damage your teeth, and you should consider enjoying those with water, limiting your intake, or avoiding them completely.  Tap water, which contains fluoride, black coffee and tea, and milk are all great alternatives.

If you suffer from acid reflux or experience morning sickness while you are pregnant, or have the flu or a stomach virus, the acid from your stomach may end up in your mouth, which can contribute to dental erosion

Whether or not the acid comes from what you eat and drink, or is a product of reflux or morning sickness or an illness, it is important that you don’t reach for your toothbrush right away. You should rinse your mouth with water, and give your saliva thirty minutes to neutralize and wash away the acid before you brush. If you brush too soon, he acid could cause damage to your enamel. If you are concerned about dental erosion, or if it is just time for your regular cleaning and exam, call 207-985-7944 to make an appointment to see Dr. Sara Sheikh at Kennebunk Center for Dentistry in Kennebunk, Maine. We’re looking forward to your visit!