World Oral Health Day – Acid Erosion in Children’s Teeth
Acid wear, or acid erosion, is the wearing away of the protective enamel on the teeth. It’s often caused by the frequency of consumption of everyday foods and drinks which contain high levels of acid. Because children’s enamel is 50% thinner than adults’, it’s important to consider the effects a child’s diet and eating habits can have on their oral health. Once the enamel is gone, it’s gone for good, so it’s important to think about way to prevent acid erosion.
Acid wear is a growing concern for UK dentists with as many as 84% seeing acid erosion in adults on a weekly basis, according to recent research.
Most children get their permanent teeth between the ages of 6 and 13. These new, adult teeth along with the milk teeth that are left are vulnerable to attach from intrinsic and extrinsic acids. A recent survey among parents conducted by Pronamel for Children showed that 30% of parents give their children fruit as a snack, 27% biscuits and just 3% offer vegetables.
It’s safe to eat foods and drinks with a high level of acid, providing they’re not consumed throughout the day. It’s important to limit the number of acidic exposures to your children’s teeth throughout the day and to watch the length of the exposure. Eating a fruit is fine, but don’t snack on it for a several hours as the risk of acid erosion increases a lot with the longer exposure.
Did you know?
- 38% of 12-year-olds and 44% of 15-year-olds are showing signs of dental erosion on the surface of their permanent incisors.
- 73% of respondents believed cola drinks had the highest level of acidity, 51% said apple juice and 31% said lemonade was the highest despite it actually being higher in acidity than apple juice.
- 83% of parents questioned, let their children eat more chocolate and sweet foods over the Christmas and New Year period.
How can I protect my child’s enamel from acid wear?
It’s very difficult getting the right balance in children’s diets. It’s of course important to ensure children eat a healthy diet by including fruit but if they snack on these or sip and swirl fruit based drinks around their mouth over long periods of time, the risk of acid erosion increases.
- Some foods/drinks that have high acid levels include: Cola, lemonade, orange squash, apple juice, pineapple juice, strawberry jam and grapefruit.
- Some medium level foods/drinks are: Carrot juice, tomatoes, honey, ketchup, raisins, pears and natural yoghurt.
- Some low acidity foods/drinks are: Water, milk, bananas, cheese, eggs and carrot sticks.
Professor David Bartlett, acid wear specialist and dentist shares his top tips for protecting your child’s enamel:
- Limit the number of occasions that your child has acidic foods and drinks in a day.
- Avoid brushing right after eating or drinking acidic foods and drinks.
- Nibble on a tiny piece of cheese or swill with water or milk after each meal.
- Use a glass and a straw and finish the drink quickly.
- Brush twice a day, every day, with an optimised fluoride toothpaste like Pronamel for Children to help re-harden and strengthen acid-softened tooth enamel and help keep children’s teeth strong and healthy.
Remember that acid erosion can affect all ages and cannot be reversed. Once the enamel is gone, it’s gone for good so protection and prevention is the best policy. Pronamel for Children has a low abrasive formula that is gentle on children’s enamel and contains fluoride to help protect against tooth decay. When used daily for brushing it provides plaque removal. The RRP is £2.03 and the toothpaste is available to buy from Boots, Superdrug, Waitrose, ASDA, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons stores nationwide.
About World Oral Health Day
World Oral Health Day (WOHD) is celebrated every year on 20 March. It is an international day to celebrate the benefits of a healthy mouth and to promote worldwide awareness of the issues around oral health and the importance of oral hygiene to looking after everyone old and young.
It is a day for people to have fun – that should be a day full of activities that make us laugh, sing and smile!
90% of the world’s population will suffer from oral diseases in their lifetime and many of them can be avoided with increased governmental, health association and society support and funding for prevention, detection and treatment programmes.
In addition, World Oral Health Day offers the dental and oral health community a platform to take action and help reduce the overall disease burden.
Find out more about acid erosion on the Pronamel website where you can also take a test to see how high your risk of acid wear is.
This post is written in collaboration with Pronamel. I was sent the items in the photos to go with this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.