Limiting Acidic Foods in Your Diet
Taking care of the health of your teeth is so much more than just brushing. While brushing twice daily and flossing is a great foundation, there are a number of other things to consider that can help keep your teeth in as good a condition as possible.
Our diet plays a huge part in not just our overall health, but our dental health. One of the biggest factors to consider is acidic foods. There are certainly a few you should avoid if you have sensitive teeth.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at the impact of acidic foods, and which ones you should limit in order to have optimal teeth health. Read on to find all you need to know.
How do acidic foods affect your teeth?
Back in the science lab in school, you may remember learning all about acids and alkalines. The acidity of any substance is measured on the pH scale, with acids being 1-6 on the scale.
Acid has an effect on your teeth. Over time, it can erode the enamel, breaking down the minerals and exposing the dentin, which is a more sensitive part of the tooth.
Brushing your teeth immediately after eating acidic foods can speed this process up because the weakened enamel breaks up under the pressure of your toothbrush.
Ultimately, the demineralization that occurs through acid erosion can lead to sensitivity, cracks in the teeth, and tooth decay, which could result in the need for dental implants.
Acidic Foods to Avoid for Sensitive Teeth
If you’re wondering about acidic foods that may be bad for teeth, there are a few categories of food and drink to note. You don’t need to completely cut these foods out, but there are measures you can take to protect yourself from the effects of these foods and drinks.
So, let’s answer the question, “what are acidic foods that affect your teeth?”.
Soda and Diet Soda
Soda generally gets a bad rap from the medical field, whether it be a dentist, a nutritionist, or a gastroenterologist. But it’s not just the high sugar content that can take its toll on your teeth. Sodas and diet sodas like cola are acidic. Excessive consumption of these drinks is one of the biggest causes of tooth erosion.
Not only does the acidity directly erode your tooth enamel, they also promote the growth of acid-producing bacteria.
Fruit Juice and Iced Treats
We’ll touch on the acidity of fruit, but keep in mind that fruit juice and ice pops can be damaging to your teeth. These products contain high concentrates of acidic fruit juices and sugars. So while there are nutritional benefits to fruit juice, drinking them too often can have a detrimental effect on your teeth.
Did you know that there are 600-800 grapes in every bottle of wine? That’s a lot of juice! Alongside some of the other negative effects of excessive alcohol consumption, drinking sugary and acidic beverages like wine can increase the acidity of your mouth, leading to erosion of the teeth.
While it’s not as low on the pH scale as some of the other foods and drinks we’ve mentioned, most types of coffee are acidic. The brewing process actually releases a number of acids that add to the flavor profile of the coffee beans.
It’s worth mentioning that certain brews are not as acidic, so by no means do you need to give up your morning coffee run. A cold brew is less acidic than regular coffee.
There are countless benefits of eating fruit, so by no means should you cut this food group out altogether, but it’s helpful to be aware of what fruits are acidic so that you are able to moderate how much you eat. Here are the top five most acidic fruits:
- Blue Plum
You may be surprised to learn that even peaches and tomatoes are classified as acidic fruits.
Non-Acidic Foods for Teeth
Back to your school days for a moment—the best way to combat acidity is to balance the pH with an alkaline. So one of the best things you can do to prevent your teeth from eroding is to eat non-acidic foods. This doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be above 7, but as long as they aren’t too low on the pH scale, they are classed as non-acidic.
We’ve looked at what foods are acidic to teeth, now let’s see how you can neutralize some of those acids!
Fruits are fantastic because they are so varied, and not just in taste and color. There are many fruits that are non-acidic:
Berries are generally a good option as most of them are alkaline.
Like fruits, there are countless benefits to vegetables. Vitamins and minerals abound and if you eat a variety of colors, there is loads of nutritional value.
Many vegetables are also alkaline, or produce alkaline and can therefore raise the pH of your mouth:
Eating these vegetables alongside anything acidic will help fight the negative effects of acid on your teeth.
Nuts, Grains, and Legumes
Some of the best non-acidic foods you can eat are in the category of nuts, seeds, and legumes:
It’s recommended that we drink two liters of water per day to stay hydrated. One of the benefits of this is that water is a neutral pH, and is even sometimes a little over 7. Along with water, drinking milk can help bring balance to the acidity of your mouth.
Look after your dental health
As you can see, a balanced diet has many benefits, and while there are certain acidic foods to avoid for sensitive teeth, you don’t necessarily need to cut them out altogether.
Being careful with your food choices as well as with when to brush your teeth can go a long way towards keeping your mouth healthy.
We’re here for you if you need any advice on brushing, flossing, or any other dental issues.