Which Foods and Beverages Contain Acid and Why do They Cause Problems for our Oral Health?
When we hear the word “acid”, we are likely to remember the various chemicals we saw in glass bottles in school science class. Or maybe we think of it as something that can cause heartburn and indigestion. However, acids also play an important role in our oral health.
While most of our diet is usually made up of low-acid things, there are a few foods and beverages that are high in acid enough to cause problems. High-acid foods and beverages can have serious consequences for our tooth enamel and cause tooth wear.
How Does Acid Affect Our Mouth?
Acid is a problem for our teeth as it weakens the enamel of our teeth and leaves them vulnerable to damage. When we eat or drink anything acidic, our tooth enamel briefly softens and loses some of its mineral content.
Our saliva will gradually destroy this acidity and bring our mouth back to its natural balance. However, if this acid attack is too frequent, our mouth will not have a chance to recover. This can cause us to gradually lose your tooth enamel.
Tooth enamel is the hard, protective coating that protects the delicate dentin under our teeth. When enamel wears away, the dentin underneath is exposed, which can cause pain and tenderness.
The most common types of acids found in our food and beverages are carbonic acids, citric acids and phosphoric acids. These are acids that weaken our tooth enamel and lead to tooth erosion.
“Fizzy” is often the telltale sign of a soda drink. The most common of these are carbonated drinks. It should be noted that even ‘diet’ brands are still harmful. Even flavored carbonated waters can be effective if drunk in large quantities, as they contain weak acids that can damage our teeth.
Some alcohols are also acidic. Beer, white wine are examples of alcoholic beverages that are highly abrasive to our teeth.
Experts say: “The best way to avoid the harm caused by soda is to limit our exposure to them. Drinking only soda at mealtimes is a great way to reduce the amount our mouth is exposed to acid attack.
“Another tip is to quickly swallow our drink without holding it in our mouth or ‘shaking’ around. Again, it’s all about reducing the amount of time our teeth are exposed to acid. An alternative is to use a straw. This helps drinks get to the back of our mouth and prevents prolonged contact with our teeth.”
In addition, experts; He says the beverage market is full of products that are high in acidity and can damage the enamel of our teeth. As consumers, this often makes it difficult for us to make healthy choices when choosing our beverages. Whether you’re at the supermarket, at the restaurant, attending events or socializing, that’s true.
“Plain, still water is the best drink for our teeth. Milk is also good because it helps neutralize the acids in our mouth.”
Fruit forms an integral part of a healthy and balanced diet. However, many fruits contain citric acid, which can promote tooth erosion.
The worst offenders are citrus fruits. These have low pH levels which means they are acidic. The most acidic fruits are lemons, limes, plums, grapes, grapefruit, and blueberries. Pineapple, oranges, peaches, and tomatoes are also high in acid.
It would be a mistake to exclude them from our diet, after all, they are truly nutritious and our bodies need them. There are a few things we can do to limit the damage done by fruit for our teeth.
Experts add: “As with sodas, the first thing we can do is keep them at mealtime. Consuming fruit for breakfast, lunch and dinner should give our body the amount of servings it needs daily without unduly straining our teeth.
“Secondly, always try to consume fruit as a whole, not as juice. While most fruits contain natural sugar, many fruit juices also contain added sugar. This is not good for our teeth. Whole fruit is also packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. This is often lost when producing a juice or is available in less concentrated forms.
More Tips and Advice
The first sign of tooth erosion is often having sensitive teeth. If that happens, we should go and see our dentist. During the exam, the dental team looks at what’s causing the sensitivity. They will treat the affected teeth with special ‘desensitizing’ products to help relieve symptoms. This may include fluoride gels, rinses or varnishes.
Symptoms of tooth wear can also be treated at home while you wait for a dental appointment.
Brushing should be done for two minutes twice a day.