What’s The Deal With Acidic Foods
Does it really erode enamel and are there habits that can help prevent this?
Yes and yes!
Let’s expand on those answers a little and discuss what the deal is with acidic foods and the impact they have on your oral health.
What is enamel?
Just as a refresher on the anatomy of the tooth, the enamel is the first and last level of defence for your teeth: it is a hard, protective layer that is both the strongest substance in the human body and at the same time, the most brittle.
What sort of food can weaken at the enamel on my teeth?
All sorts: the acid that is produced from food particles that are not properly brushed away will eat away at the enamel on your teeth, over time. That said, there are some foods that are worse than others.
- Coffee – this favourite drink of many can stain your teeth and the acids contained in it will contribute to enamel wear.
- Orange juice and other citric fruits and juices – sure, we all need our vitamin C, but the acid in orange juice, and other citric acids such as grapefruit, lemon and lime, can contribute to enamel wear.
Drinks containing phosphoric acids – otherwise known as most soft drinks. The sugars are only part of the problem. The other is the phosphoric acid, added to the colas to create a tangy flavour but which also erodes the enamel on your teeth, particularly if consumed regularly and in quantity. Its acidic properties are greater than lemon juice!
How can I minimize the impact of acidic foods?
Don’t brush right after eating the acidic food! Yes… You read that correctly. Acidic food weakens the enamel on your teeth. Brushing too soon after drinking orange juice, for example, may cause damage as the brushing interacts with the weakened enamel. What should you do instead? Rinse your mouth out with water and brush after at least 30 minutes have passed.
Aside from enamel erosion, acidic foods and drinks can dull or even discolour the enamel on your teeth. While enamel is not replaceable – once it’s lost, it’s lost for good – you can go a long way to making your previously pearly whites gleam once again. Whitening treatments are available that won’t damage your enamel and will help restore your smile!