Many foods and beverages contain acid that can cause damage to tooth enamel. Acid causes erosion of enamel, which can lead to discoloration. It can also cause demineralization that exposes the dentin inside teeth and makes them sensitive to heat, cold, and certain foods.
Acidic Foods and Drinks That Can Cause Tooth Enamel Erosion
Many common foods contain high levels of acid. Citrus fruits, such as lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits, are highly acidic. Other acidic foods and drinks include pickles, cranberries, tomato products, coffee, and wine.
How to Avoid Damage from Acidic Foods and Drinks
If you eat acidic foods, it is usually a good idea to brush your teeth soon after, but not immediately. Acidic foods and beverages soften tooth enamel. Brushing right away can wear away the enamel before it has a chance to re-strengthen. Demineralization can eventually lead to tooth decay.
There are ways to still enjoy these foods and beverages while minimizing the damage they cause to your tooth enamel. Try to eat acidic foods along with less acidic ones. Some good non-acidic foods include cheese, nuts, oatmeal, vegetables, mangos, melons, apples, bananas, brown rice, whole grains, and eggs. Fish and lean meat have low levels of acid and can help protect tooth enamel by neutralizing acid in saliva and providing calcium and phosphorous to remineralize teeth.
Drink plenty of water so saliva can remove acid from your mouth. Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to repair your tooth enamel and help with remineralization. Fluoride mouthwash can also help prevent dental erosion. Floss once a day to remove food particles from between your teeth. Chewing sugar-free gum can increase saliva production, neutralize acid, and help keep your teeth healthy.
Schedule an Appointment for a Dental Exam and Cleaning
You should visit your dentist twice a year to have your teeth cleaned and to look for early signs of erosion or decay. Your dentist may recommend dietary changes to protect your teeth from erosion. If you are due for an exam or cleaning, make an appointment with Fried Dentistry in Wallingford, Connecticut today.