- Foods with high levels of acidity can cause the enamel of your teeth to erode over time
- There are several foods that you should avoid eating by themselves
- Other than visiting your dentist it is imperative that you maintain a healthy dental regime
Many foods that are considered “healthy” and help contribute to a well-balanced diet can actually cause damage to your teeth. While tasty, natural, and important for overall health, acidic foods must be eaten with care. Foods with high levels of acidity can cause the enamel of your teeth to erode over time.
Foods to Avoid
There are several foods that you should avoid eating by themselves, such as citrus foods (oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes). Additionally, pickles, cranberries, tomato products, coffee, and alcohol are highly acidic. Other foods with low pH levels should be carefully monitored as well.
Acid eats away at the enamel of your teeth. As the enamel weakens, your teeth will become discolored and will begin to demineralize. The erosion of the enamel results in exposed dentin, the inner material of your teeth. Once the dentin is exposed, your teeth will experience sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks, causing extreme discomfort and, in some cases, decay.
What You Can Do
While eliminating acidic foods from your diet would cause more harm overall than good, it is important to eat them with a glass of water. Drinking water while consuming acidic foods can help wash away excessive acid from your mouth and away from your teeth.
If you can, eat any acidic foods with a side of foods with a higher pH level. Foods that are low in acid include cheese, melons, bananas, apples, eggs, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and lean meats. These types of foods have the ability to neutralize acids which can help counteract the acid in other foods. Additionally, these foods can replenish your teeth's minerals by providing calcium and phosphorous when needed.
Normally, it is a good idea to brush your teeth after you eat; however, you should avoid brushing your teeth directly after eating acidic foods as the acid will have softened the enamel, leaving it susceptible to additional erosion caused by the bristles of your toothbrush.
As always, it is important to visit your dentist on a regular basis, at least twice a year. They can identify early stages of erosion and help you protect your teeth. Other than visiting your dentist, it is imperative that you maintain a healthy dental regime. Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, floss, and use a fluoride mouthwash as directed by your dentist. Fluoride can help minimize dental erosion and remineralize your tooth enamel.