I got the following email from an Oral Answers reader asking about the difference between acid erosion and tooth decay. He writes:
“What is the difference between acid erosion and tooth decay? How to I ensure that I minimise both of these. Also which is the best toothpaste to use to prevent this, I have heard of duraphat (Note from Tom: Duraphat is a fluoride product marketed as Duraflor in the United States) which i know helps with decay and pronamel which helps with erosion but I do not know if both help with both.”
The Difference Between Tooth Decay and Acid Erosion
Both tooth decay and acid erosion involve your tooth structure getting dissolved. The main difference between tooth decay and acid erosion is the source of the acid.
In acid erosion, your teeth are dissolved by acidic foods, drinks, or environmental sources of acid that come into contact with your teeth.
To learn how to spot acids that eat away your teeth, read How to Identify Acidic Foods and Drinks.
Tooth decay, however is caused by millions of tiny bacteria that live on your teeth that excrete acid, which eats away at your teeth.
To learn more about these bacteria, read What Every Human Needs to Know About Plaque.
Preventing Tooth Decay and Acid Erosion
The second part of this reader’s question involved preventing tooth decay and acid erosion. The best way to prevent tooth decay is by getting rid of the bacteria on your teeth regularly through brushing and flossing. You might also want to learn about 12 weapons of plaque destruction and these 25 things that increase your risk of getting tooth decay.
Preventing acid erosion is as simple as not eating or drinking too much acid. You might be surprised to learn that many of the drinks we enjoy made this list of 9 acidic drinks that can dissolve your teeth.
As far as strengthening your teeth, most any toothpaste contains fluoride, which protects your teeth. It probably doesn’t matter which type of toothpaste you’re using as long as it contains fluoride and you’re brushing regularly.
Tooth decay is caused by acid from bacteria that live on your teeth. Acid erosion is caused by acids that you eat, drink, or otherwise expose to your teeth.
You can prevent tooth decay and acid erosion by brushing and flossing regularly and minimizing your intake of acidic foods and drinks.
Do you have any questions about tooth decay and acid erosion? I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!