Acid-Rich Foods and How They Affect Your Oral Health

Taking care of your teeth and gums means more than just brushing and flossing. You should also know what foods contain acid so you can maintain the enamel on your teeth and keep your gums from becoming too sensitive. It’s important to know what drinks have acid in them as well so you can adjust your family’s diet to keep everyone’s teeth looking their best. Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind.

Acidic Foods to Avoid

While you may know that citrus fruits are high in acid and can weaken your enamel, there are several other foods you should watch out for as well. When you want to know what foods have acid in them, check the ingredient labels for items like citric acid or other citrus extracts.

Foods like pickles, tomato products and cranberries are high in acid. If you enjoy these foods, try to use them sparingly when you’re preparing meals. For instance, if you’re preparing pasta dishes with red sauce, add more broth to the dish so you’ll use less tomato paste or sauce. Or, skip the cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving and don’t add a pickle each time you make a sandwich.

Cutting Down on Acidic Beverages

Coffee is a high-acid beverage as well, but there are low-acid varieties you can purchase to help protect your teeth and gums. Alcohol, especially wine, is high in acid. When you’re enjoying a glass of wine or cocktail after dinner, reduce your intake to cut down on the effects of ingesting too much acid. Pay attention to how you feel after having a cup of coffee or alcoholic beverage. If you feel a tingling or burning sensation in your stomach or throat area or find that you have a hard time eating or drinking very warm or very cold foods, you should reduce the consumption of these acidic drinks.

How Does Acid Affect Your Teeth?

Acid wears enamel down. When your teeth are stripped of enamel, your teeth become weaker and possibly discolored. When enamel is removed from the teeth, the dentin of the teeth is exposed, which can lead to mineralization and sensitivity. While it’s usually best to brush your teeth after eating, you should wait a few minutes to brush your teeth after you’ve consumed an acidic meal or beverage. Acid makes the enamel softer, so if you brush too soon after eating, you may erode the enamel on your teeth even faster. When your enamel is eroded, this exposes your teeth to bacteria and toxins, which can increase the chances of tooth decay.

Foods to Protect Your Teeth

Just as there are foods that can damage your teeth’s enamel, there are also foods you can eat to preserve your oral health. Nuts, cheese, eggs and melons are low-acid and keep your teeth safe while nourishing your body. Additional fruits like bananas, apples and mangoes are also good for your teeth and gums. You can also include lean meat and fish in your diet, which is low acid and protects the enamel on your teeth. These protein-rich foods neutralize the acid in your saliva and provide your teeth with phosphorous and calcium to keep your teeth strong. You can also include whole grains and brown rice in your diet to keep your enamel-safe and balance your blood sugar, which can also contribute to your dental health.

It’s important to include these foods in your diet to keep your enamel intact. Remember that enamel doesn’t grow back — once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. It’s important to learn all you can as soon as possible to preserve your smile. Teaching healthy dental habits in childhood will increase the likelihood that kids will carry these practices into their adult lives.

Get in touch with our holistic pediatric dentist to learn more about the foods you should include in your child’s diet. When you know what to feed your kids, you can prepare meals that provide long-term oral and overall health. Set up an appointment with us today for your child’s dental checkup or for any concerns you have about oral health for your kids.