Canadian Dental Association supports national 'Be Acid Aware' education
campaign - targeting acid wear, a growing dental condition which puts
even those with healthy lifestyle at risk
TORONTO, March 6 /CNW/ - For years, Canadians have been hearing the "eat
healthy" message - and it appears as if many of us are doing our best to heed
that advice. In fact, recent research shows 71 per cent of Canadians report
that they follow the Canada Food Guide to Healthy Eating.
Overall, this is great news for the health of Canadians, but at the same
time, this new lifestyle could be putting the health of our teeth at risk.
The acids in many healthy foods and drinks, including fruits (e.g.,
grapes, strawberries, oranges and bananas), salad dressings with vinegar,
fruit juices (e.g., apple, cranberry, and orange juices), and wine - can
damage teeth by softening the protective enamel surface, which can then become
more vulnerable to the effects of brushing. This process is called acid wear
and it is a growing dental condition that can lead to sensitive, transparent
and yellow-looking teeth.
"The concern is that the damage from acid wear cannot be reversed," says
Dr. Jordan Appel, a Toronto-based dentist. "Enamel is the protective armour
for our teeth - and once it's gone, it's gone forever."
With a majority of Canadians not knowing what acid wear is, or only
knowing a little about it, many of us are unknowingly putting our teeth under
an acid attack.
The Canadian Dental Association agrees, and anticipates that acid wear
could have far-reaching implications. As such, they are supporting Be Acid
Aware, a national public education campaign aimed at helping Canadians to
understand acid wear, know their risk level and learn steps they can take to
protect their teeth. Part of the campaign includes the launch of an education
website - www.beacidaware.ca
"Canadians should keep eating the healthy foods they're enjoying now, but
at the same time, should take preventative steps to protect their teeth," says
Dr. Clive S. Friedman, who sits on the Canadian Dental Association's Committee
on Clinical and Scientific Affairs. "We encourage Canadians to learn more
about this prevalent dental condition and to take action."
According to Canadian dental professionals, they are seeing acid wear in
more of their patients - mostly due to our healthier food choices, grazing
throughout the day and carbonated beverages plus the fact that we are keeping
our teeth longer than those in past generations.
"We're seeing a trend toward healthier eating like the recommendations
outlined in the Canada Food Guide," says Dr. Appel. "Because of these
healthier habits, a greater incidence of fluoridated water and better oral
hygiene, I expect the new cavity of the 21st century to be acid wear."
More About Acid Wear
Acid wear is a form of tooth wear that is caused by acids softening the
surface of the tooth's enamel, which is the hardest material in the human
body. When tooth enamel, the hard surface surrounding and protecting the
tooth, is exposed to acids from foods or drinks, it temporarily softens and
loses some of its mineral content.
When the enamel surface is softened and we brush our teeth, the enamel
can be worn away more easily, and could become thinner over time, leading to
the signs of acid wear.
Saliva helps to neutralize acidity, restore the mouth's natural balance
and slowly re-harden the tooth enamel. However, because the tooth's recovery
process is slow, if the acid attack happens frequently, the tooth does not
have a chance to repair.
What are the Signs of Acid Wear?
While early stage acid wear can only be diagnosed by a dentist, some
telltale signs to look for include:- Sensitivity: Your teeth may become sensitive to cold or hot foods,
drinks or outdoor temperature.
- Transparency: Teeth may lose their brightness or appear transparent
at the biting edges.
- Discolouration: Teeth begin to appear yellow in colour as the
thinning enamel wears away and the underlying dentin shows through.
- Rounded teeth: As acid wear progresses, teeth may develop a rounded
"sandblasted" look on the surface and edges.
- Cracks or cupping: As acid wear progresses, small cracks and
roughness may occur at the edges of the teeth or dents may appear on
the chewing surfaces.
How We Can Protect Our Teeth From Acid Wear
The good news is, we can and should keep eating these healthy foods as
there are preventative steps we can take to protect our teeth while still
enjoying those foods with higher acid levels. The following are some simple
steps to lessen the effects of acid wear:
1) Don't swish acidic drinks like fruit juices and carbonated beverages
around your mouth - swallow them quickly. Use a straw to direct
liquids away from your teeth.
2) Don't brush your teeth right after eating, when the enamel is soft.
Leave it for at least an hour. You can also brush before eating, or
rinse with water after eating.
3) Brush twice a day, every day with a toothpaste like ProNamel(R) from
Sensodyne(R) that helps re-harden softened tooth enamel.
4) Have regular dental check-ups and follow your dentist's advice.About the survey
The survey was commissioned by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare and
conducted by the public opinion research firm Leger Marketing. Data is based
on online interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,513 Canadian
adults over 18 years from October 31 to November 4, 2007. The results are
considered accurate within a margin of error of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.
About GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare
GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare is one of the world's largest
over-the-counter healthcare products companies. Its more than 30 well-known
products include such medicine cabinet staples as Sensodyne(R), Aquafresh(R)
toothpastes and toothbrushes, Polident(R) and PoliGrip(R) denture care
products, Tums(R), Gaviscon(R), Contac (R), Spectro(R), Breathe Right(R),
abreva(R) and ProNamel(R) from Sensodyne(R) which was developed specifically
to help protect teeth from the effect of acid wear by re-hardening the enamel,
being pH neutral, and by being a low abrasion toothpaste.
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