Teeth are not invincible, and what you choose to put into your mouth on a daily basis will either help to protect them or will put them in harm’s way. Foods and beverages that you choose to consume on a regular basis have a tremendous impact on the health of your teeth and gums. Aside from cavities, the teeth are also extremely susceptible to acid erosion based on certain dietary choices.
Certain foods and beverages are much more acidic than others. Citrus fruits, carbonated beverages, alcohol, coffee, tomatoes, and pickled vegetables are among the biggest culprits.
Let’s discuss carbonated beverages first. Did you know that many EMTs use dark carbonated beverages to clean blood off of asphalt after a car accident? Did you know that many mechanics will use soda to clean battery acid off a car battery? Did you know that many people pour carbonated beverages into their toilets to clean them? If carbonated beverages are so acidic that they can do all of these things, can you imagine what regular consumption of these drinks are doing to your teeth?
Citrus fruits, alcohol, coffee, tomatoes, pickled vegetables, and other foods are also much higher in acid content than foods such as meat and grains. Acid erosion is the wearing down of the teeth by a chemical means. As the acid reacts to the tooth enamel, it weakens the enamel making it more susceptible to chipping, cracking, becoming translucent, becoming sensitive, and cavity-prone.
Limiting your consumption of highly acidic foods and beverages is the most optimal choice for protecting your teeth. Other beneficial actions include:
- Drinking carbonated beverages with a straw
- Rinsing the mouth with water after consumption
- Regular fluoride applications to the teeth from your dentist
- Not brushing the teeth immediate after consuming acidic foods or beverages as this is when the teeth are most vulnerable to erosion. Wait around an hour before brushing.
Visiting the dentist twice a year combined with a limited intake of acidic dietary choices can help to ensure that you are not suffering from acid erosion.