final acid pic

What is acid wear and what causes it?

Acid wear, also called acid erosion, is when acids dissolve the enamel (outer surface of the teeth). This makes the tooth soft and easily worn or chipped away. This leads to teeth looking smoother, shorter and more yellow and the tips of the teeth may appear see-through. Acid wear can also make the teeth become more sensitive to hot, cold and sweet things.
Once worn away the enamel cannot be replaced or grown back. The acids that cause erosion may come from foods you eat and drink. pH is a way of measuring how acidic something is. If the pH of food or drink is less than 5.5, it will dissolve your tooth enamel.
As well as foods and drinks, acids can also come from your stomach. If you vomit, or get acid reflux (heartburn) regularly, this can cause acid erosion. If you think this is happening to you, ask your doctor or dentist. People who drink a lot of alcohol are particularly susceptible to erosion as most alcoholic drinks are acidic. Excess alcohol consumption can also lead to vomiting.
How do I stop acid wear?
Changing your diet to reduce the amount of acidic food and drinks is important to stop further wear. Ideally, you need to cut out anything more acidic then pH 5.5 (to the left of the black line on the picture above). If you must drink something acidic, it is best to only drink it with a meal to help neutralise the acid, and/or drink using a straw. Drink it straight down without holding it in your mouth and after, use a mouthwash or rinse your mouth out with water but DO NOT brush your teeth for about 30 minutes. The acids cause the surface of the enamel to soften and if you brush during this period it is possible to physically brush the enamel away. Natural saliva will remineralise (harden) the enamel in about 30 minutes.
Brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste (on the back of the packet, it should say that it contains more than 1450ppm or 0.312% of fluoride) will help to harden the enamel. Ask your dentist, who may recommend stronger toothpaste.
What treatment is available?
With acid erosion prevention is the key as there is not treatment that can help repair the enamel once is has been lost. However teeth affected by acid wear can be repaired with fillings and crowns. Unfortunately for very badly worn teeth extraction may be the only treatment available.
If you any questions regarding acid wear then do not hesitate to contact us at the surgery and we will answer all your questions.

St Stephens Dental Practice. Giving you the confidence to smile on 01227 452668 or at


I have a team of dentists and nurses who are up to date, good at what they do and run on time.

In spite of this most people are afraid of what their visit to us entails. To combat this we try very hard to make a visit to our practices friendly and welcoming. We collect feedback on our service after treatment via an independent email questionnaire. 96% of our respondents scored us 10 out 0f 10 for being friendly and approachable and with the same score for their overall experience and treatment. I am extremely proud of this, so if you know anyone who needs any form of dental treatment done refer them to me and my team.

We know what we are doing. We will make your whole experience on your visit to us friendly and welcoming whilst sorting out your dental needs using the latest technology and equipment.
Giving you the confidence to smile.


How often should I brush my teeth?

Plaque forming on teeth and gums is the major cause of tooth decay and gum disease. So the best way to keep these problems at bay is to remove the plaque on your teeth regularly and effectively. It is essential that you brush your teeth twice a day for at least 2 minutes each time. Cleaning between your teeth at least once a day is also an essential.


What is the best toothpaste?

Toothpaste contains Fluoride, an ingredient that strengthens your teeth against decay. All adults should use toothpaste that contains at least 1350ppm Fluoride. After brushing you should spit out the excess toothpaste but don’t rinse out your mouth, the remaining toothpaste continues to work after you’ve finished brushing. Some toothpastes also contain antibacterial agents and these are good to help gum health.


What sort of tooth brush should I use?

The best kind of toothbrush to use is an electric type. This is because they can remove more plaque than a manual brush, doing it more gently and effectively. The technique is it hold the brush against each tooth surface for a few seconds and then move onto the next tooth (don’t scrub). At the practice we sell a range of electric tooth brushes including rotary and ultrasonic varieties.





The best manual toothbrush to use is one with a small head and an assortment of bristles with different lengths. The technique for a manual brush is different; place the brush head at the gum margin (where the pink gum and the white tooth meet) at a 45 degree angle, make small circular movements moving from tooth to tooth. You can scrub the tops of the teeth with a forward-backwards movement. You can also gently brush all of the soft tissues including gums and tongue as plaque forms all over the mouth.


In all comparison tests between electric and manual toothbrushes, electric brushes always come out best so we at St Stephens Dental Practice recommend them over manual varieties.




What else should I be doing?

The area in between teeth is most prone to gum disease and this is an area when your normal toothbrush just can’t get to. There are several methods of cleaning this area:

  • Interdental brushes – The best way to clean this area. These come in different sizes and are small enough to get into the gaps between teeth. The technique is simple just push them in and out of the gaps between the teeth.



  • Floss – The easiest way to use floss is to cut a piece (about 30cm) and wrap it around your middle fingers. You can then use your index fingers and thumbs to control it. You should pass the floss between two teeth and then pull it up and down the opposing tooth surfaces several times. This can be quite tricky to do at first but becomes easy with practice. If you need advice on this please ask your dentist.



  • Flossettes – small lengths of floss held in an easy to use plastic holder.

It may be useful for you to bring your toothbrush, toothpaste, interdental brushes and/or floss with you to an appointment for your dentist to check.


If you have any questions about anything in this article please do not hesitate to ask your dentist who will be able to answer all you questions.


Call us on 01227 452668 or via Email on



Every day dentists all over the UK are doing a fantastic job keeping mouths healthy. We perform minor engineering miracles in the most hostile environment using the most up to date materials which then patients expect to last a lifetime!

Most patients are extremely satisfied and pleased with the results and yet this never reaches the press or TV. They rarely report of these successes. They only like to report negative news about us. This week they reported on a Which magazine article. This stated that Which had found that dentists in their survey kept pricing secret, did not inform patients about treatment choices or about the pros and cons of different approaches.

In my practice and as far as I know all of the local dentists there are price lists in the waiting room. I discuss patients treatment needs with them and offer them different choices and keep them informed of the pros and cons of each. Pricing is not secret, I tell them and I give patients returning for treatment a print out of their treatment plan so they know where they stand and there should be no surprises.

So read the negative stuff then come to a practice where you will get treatment appropriate to you as an individual. Where you will be made aware of different approaches and can choose which way to go after listening to our advice and where pricing is clear.

For all things Dental, think of my team and I at Canterbury and Wingham, giving you the confidence to smile.