Sugar is often regarded as the most harmful substance when it comes to dental health, but what a lot of people don’t know is that acid can cause just as much harm as candy or dessert. Acid wreaks havoc on our enamel, which can then lead to other problems such as discoloration, sensitivity, and decay. In fact, up to 80% of adults are at risk of enamel loss due to what they eat. Because of this statistic, it’s important to make conscious decisions about what you eat in order to protect your teeth. Unfortunately, acidic foods aren’t always as recognizable as sugary foods, so we wanted to take time to outline the top six most acidic foods and drinks.
If you’ve read any of our past blogs, you know that soda is a primary culprit of tooth decay. In addition to the fact that many sodas contain sugar, the carbonation in soft drinks also makes them highly acidic. This combination of decay-causing forces can lead to some pretty shocking statistics. Studies have shown that consuming three or more sugary sodas a day increases your chance of dental decay by 62%. Even if you choose diet sodas, you are still subjecting your enamel to acid erosion that can eat away at the enamel on your teeth. If you’re looking for an easy way to better your dental health, cutting out soda is an excellent place to start.
It may be surprising to some that even healthy foods can be highly acidic. Citrus fruit such as oranges, lemons, and limes are the highest in acid, but even berries contain acid. Before you start cutting fruit out of your diet, it’s important to note the benefits that eating fruit has on the rest of your body, including your dental health. Eating raw fruit can help clean teeth, and bananas can help treat sensitive teeth. In addition, diets that are deficient in vitamin C can cause severe dental problems, including loose teeth and bleeding gums. While certain fruits such as citrus can be acidic, consuming them in moderation is recommended, especially if you instead choose to avoid foods that are both acidic and unhealthy (like soda).
Tomatoes are another example of a food that is both healthy and acidic. While you shouldn’t miss out on the numerous health benefits that tomatoes have to offer, you can still avoid the acidity by limiting less healthy foods such as ketchup and pasta sauce.
Wine, particularly white wine, is one of the most acidic drinks because of the grapes used to make it. While red wine tends to be less acidic than white varieties, it is still considered a highly acidic drink. Fortunately, certain types of cheese such as cheddar, brie, and blue cheese can all help protect your enamel against the acidity in wine.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s better to consume your fruits rather than drink them. In many different citrus juices like orange juice, grapefruit juice, or lemonade, there is added sugar that can lead to decay. Citrus juices are just as acidic as fruit, but the sugar content makes them one of the worst things you can drink when it comes to dental health.
While many people are taught early on to promote dental health by avoiding fruit juices and sodas, they are not always made aware of the fact that sports drinks have the potential to cause decay as well. Water is the best drink to rehydrate after exercising or playing sports while also looking out for the health of your enamel. If you’re in need of some extra electrolytes, try diluting sports drinks with water to limit damage to your teeth.
Contact Ashley Dental Associates
For all of your dental-related questions, including the effect of acid on your teeth, contact Ashley Dental Associates. Our team prioritizes communication with our patients, so we are happy to talk to you about certain foods or drinks that may be contributing to underlying dental problems. Schedule an appointment today by calling us at (843) 767-2600.