The enamel protecting our teeth is the hardest substance in our bodies. It is a truly remarkable substance. However, we should not take it for granted. It can be damaged more easily than most people know. Acids in the things we drink can be a major factor in damaging that very important enamel. This is know as acid erosion.
The degree of tooth damage caused by acid erosion varies depending on a number of factors: the acidity of the drink, the type of acid involved, and the length of time that the teeth are exposed to the acid in question.
The pH scale measures the degree of acidity or alkalinity in a substance, including food and drink. This scale positions neutral substances at 7, and increasing acidity is reflected in decreasing numbers while increasing alkalinity is reflected in increasing numbers. Tooth erosion can be caused by substances with an acidity pH number below 5.0 to 5.7. That means that even coffee and wine have some potential effect, but more acidic drinks like fruit juices and carbonated drinks are the ones of most concern. This pH scale shows diagrammatically where some common substances are located on the pH scale.