Acids in the foods and drinks you take affect your oral health. Below is an overview of dietary acids and dental health.
How Acids Affect the Teeth
Teeth enamel comprises different enamels, primarily calcium and phosphorus. Acids dissolve the minerals, thinning the enamel. Having thin enamel is dangerous since you need it to protect inner tooth structures. For example, thin enamel increases the risk of:
- Teeth injuries from accidents
- Dental infections due to bacterial attack
- Teeth discoloration by allowing different pigments to penetrate the teeth
- Discoloration due to exposure of the inner tooth structures, such as the dentin
- Hypersensitivity by allowing heat and cold to penetrate the teeth
- Dental cavities in extreme cases
The initial teeth condition, the acid's pH (the degree of acidity), and the exposure duration determine the effects' extent.
Common Sources of Dietary Acids
Dietary acids come in various forms, including drinks and sweets. Below are specific examples of sources of dietary acids.
Some fruits are high in acids that affect teeth. Examples include citrus, tomatoes, and berries, such as strawberries.
Soft drinks are some of the most acidic foods in many people's diets. The phosphoric acids, citrus ingredients, and carbonation contribute to acidity. Examples of such drinks include sodas, fruit juices, and energy drinks.
Some flavorings also contribute to food acidity. Examples of such flavorings include lactic, malic, and acetic acids.
Sourness in foods often comes from dissolved acids. Sour candies, creams, and pickles are good examples.
Tips to Mitigate Effects of Acids on Teeth
Take measures to mitigate the effects of dietary acids on your teeth. Below are some relevant measures:
- Limit your intake of acidic foods, especially drinks, since they penetrate all teeth crevices.
- Don't brush immediately after eating. Acids soften your teeth, so brushing the teeth in the first few minutes after eating increases the erosion risk. Give saliva time to dilute and wash away the acids.
- Rinse your mouth with water or take calcium-rich foods, like milk, to neutralize the acids.
- Use approved dental products that demineralize teeth.
- Take acidic foods, such as fruit juices, with meals instead of sipping on them throughout the day to reduce teeth acid exposure.
You don't have to avoid all acidic foods and drinks, but you can limit their effect on your teeth. Hopefully, you will maintain healthy teeth throughout your life. Seek dental care if you suspect dental erosion, for example, if your teeth become hypersensitive. Current dental treatments will offer you relief.
Contact a local dental office to learn more about general dentistry.Share