Certain foods and drinks can cause damage to your teeth.
Fruit is packed with nutrients, and should form part of a healthy, balanced diet. But unfortunately, many types of fruits, as well as well as fruit juices, tend to be very acidic. For this reason, they can cause damage to the teeth by wearing away at the enamel and contributing to oral health issues like tooth sensitivity. That said, it’s perfectly to fine to enjoy your favourite fruits — just be sure to do so in moderation and to take proper care of your teeth after you have eaten…
What is acidity?
Levels of acidity and alkalinity are measured on the pH scale, which ranges from 0 to 14. Anything that has a pH lower than 7 is considered acidic, while those with a pH above 7 are considered alkaline. This can be applied to the foods and drinks that you choose to eat, as well as your saliva. Ideally, your saliva should stay at a pH of between 6.5 and 7.5 — this will help to keep the harmful effects of acid at bay and lower your risk of dental erosion and tooth decay.
Which foods are acidic?
Certain foods are considered acidic, and can contribute to oral health issues like tooth decay, sensitivity and discolouration. Although it is not necessary to avoid these foods altogether, you should try to eat them in moderation only.
Some of the most acidic foods and drinks include citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and grapefruits; apples; grapes; blueberries; pineapples; fruit juices; carbonated soft drinks; tomatoes; jams; and vinegar.
The good news is that there are plenty of foods that are considered non-acidic and do not cause dental erosion. These include beans; peas; corn; spinach; broccoli; fish; cheese; tofu; potatoes; rice; watermelon; bananas; and watermelon.
What is dental erosion, exactly?
The outermost layer of the teeth is a very hard substance known as enamel. This substance plays an important role in protecting the teeth from damage, and although it is very strong, it can weaken over time if it is exposed to frequent acid attacks. When the mouth becomes too acidic, the enamel loses important minerals — this, in turn, can lead to dental erosion and decay.
When dental erosion occurs, you may notice some sensitivity, especially when you eat something particularly hot, cold or sweet. Other possible signs of dental erosion include discolouration, as the underlying dentin is exposed; teeth that have been visibly worn down; and cracks along the edges of your teeth.
Can you prevent dental erosion?
Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to minimise the effects of acid and prevent dental erosion. If you do enjoy citrus fruits, you can eat them but just avoid sucking on them as this exposes your teeth to acid for longer than is necessary. Use a straw when you drink fruit juice as this prevents direct contact with your teeth, and rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking anything that is particularly acidic.
You can also keep your enamel strong by brushing your teeth twice a day with a toothpaste that contains fluoride, and by seeing your dentist for regular fluoride treatments.
How can we help?
At Somerset Dental Care, we love to help our patients maintain healthy and beautiful smiles for life. We encourage proper oral hygiene habits, as well as a healthy, balanced diet. If you have a question about your oral health, or are concerned about a specific issue, we encourage you to come in and see us so that we can guide you through the most appropriate course of action.
One of the best things you can do for your oral health is to come in for regular check-up and cleans — if it’s been a while since your last visit, please get in touch here or give us a call on 02 4648 0909.