These acidic foods could jeopardize your oral health.
When it comes to your oral health and contributors to tooth decay, sugar isn’t the only cause for concern. Everyday foods and drinks that you might not even think about can be just as harmful. For example, foods high in acid can wear away the enamel on your teeth, making you more susceptible to tooth decay, sensitivity to hot and cold, and tooth discoloration. But this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy acidic foods or should eliminate them from your diet altogether. After all, knowledge is power, and we hope we can provide you with the insights you need to know to make better decisions for healthy teeth and your oral health.
Acidic foods increase the risk of tooth erosion.
Despite what we might believe about certain acidic fruits being good for us, acidic foods increase the risks of tooth erosion, which can manifest a wide array of symptoms from sensitivity to discoloration, cracks, gingivitis, etc. Signs of tooth erosion can include any of the following:
- Tooth sensitivity: As the protective enamel on your teeth wears away, it is not uncommon to feel pain or discomfort when you eat or drink hot, cold, or sweet foods and beverages. As the enamel continues to wear away, the teeth will become more sensitive.
- Discoloration: Teeth can yellow as the thinning enamel layer gives way to the underlying dentin.
- Rounded teeth: As the protective enamel layer wears away, your teeth may take on a rounded look, almost as though they have been sanded at the edges.
- Transparency: The front teeth may look a bit translucent around the edges.
- Cracks: Miniscule but dangerous cracks may appear at the edges of your teeth, and you may feel that your teeth are rougher than they used to be.
- Cupping: Small dents may begin to appear on the surface of the teeth where you chew, and your fillings may look as though they are rising up and out of the tooth.
Foods That Are Bad for Your Teeth
Some of the most acidic foods to avoid for sensitive teeth include:
- Lemon juice
- Sports drinks
- Powdered fruit drinks
- Flavored tea
- Flavored water
- Apple juice
- Orange juice
Additionally, some more nutritious foods, such as citrus fruits and tomatoes, can have adverse acidic effects on tooth enamel. Thus, when consuming these foods, it is best to eat them as part of a meal rather than by themselves. Dried fruits and raisins, though they have nutritious value, can cause problems too because of their stickiness, which causes them to adhere to your teeth. This means the acids produced by cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth continue to work against you long after you stop consuming the harmful foods.
Better choices or non-acidic foods include fresh vegetables and fruits, seeds, and nuts. Additionally, the following healthy food items are low in acid and good for your oral health.
- Soy, including miso, soybeans, tempeh, and tofu
- Unsweetened yogurt
- Herbs and spices, excluding salt, nutmeg, and mustard
- Whole grains, including quinoa, amaranth, and millet
- Herbal teas
How to Reduce the Risk of Tooth Erosion from Acidic Foods and Drinks
Thankfully, there are some ways you can reduce the risk of tooth erosion caused by acidic foods. Consider the following tactics the next time you eat or drink an acidic food item so you can maintain your oral health. Doing so is just one of the many ways you can maintain happy and healthy teeth.
- As mentioned before, consume acidic foods as part of a broader meal. This will help reduce contact with your teeth and can help neutralize the acid.
- Wash acidic food and beverage items down with water. Keep a full refillable water bottle with you throughout the day, as this will ensure you are washing down food items, acidic or not, and will help keep you hydrated.
- Use a straw when consuming acidic beverages to reduce contact with your teeth. Further, finish the drink quickly instead of sipping it over an extended period.
- Pay attention to the nutrition labels to help cut down your sugar intake. Consider healthier options such as water, tea, and coconut water.
- Though it is essential to brush your teeth twice a day, wait to brush your teeth at least 30 minutes after consuming acidic foods bad for your teeth. In the meantime, drink some water or rinse your mouth with tap water.
Do these types of foods cause cavities?
As we said earlier, sugar isn’t the only cause for concern regarding cavities and tooth decay. The high levels of acid in some of your favorite everyday foods and beverages, especially those we listed above, can be harmful to your teeth. Limiting these acidic food and beverage items is best for your oral health and can help you prevent tooth decay.
Additionally, be sure to make a trip to the Valley Dental Clinic at least twice per year for a dental cleaning and oral examination. In many cases, your dentist can help identify the effects of acidic foods and beverages and can help you mitigate other risks. If it’s time for your dental cleaning or looking for the best dentist in Anchorage, Alaska, then be sure to request an appointment with the team at Valley Dental Clinic.
We look forward to seeing you.