What acidic food and drinks affect your oral health?
When someone says ‘acid’ we typically think about the various chemicals we saw in glass bottles in science class. Or we think of it as something that causes heartburn and indigestion. However, foods and drinks containing acid affects your oral health.
Most diets are made up of things with low acidity, there are some foods and drinks that are high enough in acid to cause a problem with your oral health. Food and drinks with high acidity can have serious consequences for your enamel and are the cause of dental erosion.
How does acid affect our mouths from acidic food and drinks?
Acidic food and drinks are a problem for your teeth as it weakens the enamel, leaving your teeth vulnerable to damage. Every time we eat or drink anything acidic, the enamel on our teeth becomes softer for a short while and it loses some of its mineral content. Saliva will slowly cancel out the acidity and get your mouth back to its natural balance. But, if the acid attack happens often, this could result in slowly losing our enamel.
Enamel is the hard, protective coating of our tooth, which protects the dentine underneath. When the enamel is worn away, the dentine underneath is exposed, which may lead to pain and sensitivity to cold or hot foods or drinks.
The most common types of acid in your food and drinks are carbonic acids, citric acids and phosphoric acids. These are the acids that weaken our enamel, leading to dental erosion. The main culprits when it comes to acidic foods and drinks are sodas and fruit.
If a drink produces bubbles of gas and make a hissing sound, this is often a tell-tale sign of an acidic drink. The most common of these are sodas or carbonated drinks. It’s important to note that even the ‘diet’ brands are still harmful to your teeth. Sodas can have an effect if drunk in large amounts, as they contain weak acids which can harm our teeth.
Some alcoholic drinks are acidic such as beer, cider, and wine and are examples of drinks that are highly erosive for your teeth. The best way for you to avoid the damage to your teeth is to simply limit the amount you drink. Having acidic drinks only at mealtimes is a great way to reduce an acid attack. An alternative is to use a straw to help drinks go to the back of our mouth avoiding prolonged contact with your teeth. Water is the best drink for our teeth. Milk is also good because it helps to neutralize the acids in our mouth.
Many fruits contain citric acid which can encourage dental erosion. The worst offenders are citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, plums, grapes, grapefruits and blueberries, pineapples, oranges, peaches and tomatoes. All of these fruits have low pH levels, which means they are acidic. They are nutritious and our bodies needs them.
Always try to consume fruit in its whole format and not as a juice. Most fruits contain natural sugars, many fruit juices have added sugar. This is not good for your teeth. Whole fruit is packed full of vitamins, minerals and fibre.
One of the first signs of dental erosion is sensitive teeth. If this happens, you should go and visit your dentist. During the dental examination they will look at what is causing the sensitivity. They will treat the affected teeth with fluoride gels, rinses or varnishes to help relieve the symptoms.
Make an appointment with the Melissa and Plano Dentist at Haight Family Dentistry
When you visit Haight Family Dentistry, Dr. Haight will be able to advise you on which type of toothpaste is best for your needs. If you have questions about acidic food and drinks, contact Haight Family Dentistry in at our Plano or our Melissa, TX by calling 972-527-5555 or request an appointment online.