Dental erosion is a common and serious problem in this country. Here are four types of acidic foods that can wreck havoc on your dental enamel.
You only have one set of teeth and probably want to keep them around for awhile. Unfortunately, the foods you put in your mouth and the beverages you drink can have a significant impact on how long your pearly whites stay healthy. Over time, certain foods and drinks gradually erode away tooth enamel leading to tooth sensitivity and more serious dental problems. The problem of tooth erosion is on the rise and is being seen in younger and younger populations. Surprisingly, over half of all kids under the age of eighteen show signs of dental erosion. The culprit? Acidic foods and drinks. With the increasing popularity of sports drinks and other carbonated beverages among young people, the problem of dental erosion is a growing one. What are some examples of acidic foods and beverages that can wreck havoc on tooth enamel?
At the top of the list of acidic foods that destroy tooth enamel are soft drinks. Soft drinks contain phosphoric acid, a serious enamel destroyer. It’s not just soft drinks that harm the teeth, sports drinks also have an acidic pH and can wear away tooth enamel. This problem is made worse when teeth are brushed too soon after sipping a sports drink. This is because the acid weakens the tooth surface, making it more susceptible to abrasion. If you enjoy the taste of soft drinks, but want to preserve the integrity of your tooth, root beer may be the best choice. It lacks the acids and low pH that are so harmful to teeth.
Fruit Juices and Fruits
Yes, fruits are good for you, but not for your teeth. The chief offenders are citrus fruits, particularly lemons and oranges and their juices. These fruits contain citric acid which can erode dental enamel. Citrus flavored soft drinks such as Mountain Dew are worse for teeth than colas due to their higher citric acid content. Vegetarians who eat a great deal of fruits have a higher rate of dental erosion.
That carton of yogurt may have probiotics which are good for mouth hygiene, but the lactic acid it contains can erode tooth enamel. Other fermented foods such as sauerkraut, miso, and kefir do the same thing.
Wines have a low pH because they contain tartaric acid. Sipping wine on a regular basis gradually erodes away the protective enamel covering the tooth which leads to increased tooth sensitivity and long-term tooth damage. It’s been shown that wine tasters experience more acid tooth erosion. If you value your teeth, don’t become a wine taster.
The Bottom Line?
If you can’t completely avoid acidic foods, try rinsing your mouth out after eating or drinking, but don’t brush since this will make the problem worse. Chewing on sugar-free also helps by stimulating saliva flow which allows teeth to re-mineralize. Always use a straw to avoid acid contact with the teeth. Take these small steps for better dental health.