Simply, What can we do?
- Reduce the amount and frequency of acidic foods and beverages.
- Acidic foods and beverages: Soft drinks (both diet and regular) fruit juices, sports drinks, citrus fruits, apples, vinegar, and pickles, etc. If it’s sour, it’s acidic.
- Time the ingestion of acidic foods and beverages.
Also know that saliva buffers acids, so avoid acids at times you have low saliva.
Keep in mind that sports drinks that have been quite popular in recent times are highly acidic and high in sugar. When are people ingesting these potentially destructive drinks? When they are dehydrated and their level of saliva production is down. I’d say, drink water when you are dehydrated instead. If you do drink an acidic or sugary drink around your workouts, then rinse your mouth with water afterwards.
Notice when you have low saliva levels, and stay away from acids at that time. Overnight, your saliva production reduces and you will find in the morning you have a degree of dry mouth. At this time, don’t start the day with an acidic/sugary start.
If you are on certain medications, notice how they affect your saliva. Many medications reduce saliva flow.
When using stimulants to lose weight or boost training, notice their negative effects on your saliva flow. Be smart when ingesting acids.
To the people who ingest vinegar or lemon juice with carbohydrate meals and refeeds, I suggest opting for sodium acetate. Rinse your mouths with water after salads with vinegar content.
People who supplement with bulk powders or proprietary blends with acidic natures have greater risk of tooth erosion.
I have noticed a number of supplements which can potentially damage teeth. There are many proprietary powders which are quite acidic. There are bulk powders which which can enhance the degree of erosion, on top of the generally erosive diet some people have. Here is a few that knock the socks off my teeth and cause sensitivity.
- Magnesium citrate: the power of this one was noticed once moving from tablet to powder form.
- Citrulline Malate
And I even find that L-carnitine causes sensitivity to certain weak areas of my teeth.
What can you do?
Over time, if you keep ingesting these powders you will eventually have a net loss of tooth structure. To reduce this erosion, you can:
- Cap your powders.
- Buy tablet forms of powders.
- Don’t spread your acidic powders throughout the day. Try to have them in one dose all together. This is a problem for supplements with have shorter half lives. Possibly cap the shorter half life powders, so you can spread them out during the day.
- Chase your powders with water, lots of it, and actively rinse your teeth with it.
Learn from my mistakes: Don’t chase your acidic power with sodium bicarbonate. I was spooning my powders into my mouth one by one, as a load before I follow with water. I thought “Hey, I’m going for a run – lets put a bit of sodium bicarbonate in the mix. As a buffer, this will keep my legs going for a bit longer.” All I eventually got was a party in my mouth.