It’s no secret that sugar causes tooth decay, but it isn’t the only dietary factor that can damage your smile. Foods and beverages that are high in acid can also wreak havoc on our pearly whites.
Acid wear occurs when the acids found in certain foods and drinks starts to wear away the enamel that protects our teeth. Everything we put in our mouth has a pH level, and if the pH level is lower than 6, the food or drink is classified as acidic and can trigger acid wear.
The most acidic foods to avoid are citrus fruit (including that slice of lemon in your water), sour lollies, chewable vitamin C tablets and vinegar. Unfortunately, the list of acidic drinks is much longer. Soft drinks, energy drinks, fruit juices, fruit flavoured water, cordial, fruit flavoured tea and alcoholic drinks are all acidic trouble-makers. The good news is there are lots of ways you can stop acid attack in its tracks.
Drink more water and less of everything else.
Water is always the best way to quench a first. Not only is it acid-free, but it washes away the bad stuff like left over food and residue and neutralises the pH in your mouth. Win-win!
Keeping hydrated also encourages saliva production to help restore pH balance in your mouth.
Ditch the diet brands.
Beware of claims that sugar-free beverages are better for your teeth. The lack of sugar may be good for preventing dental decay, but the drink may still be acidic and cause tooth erosion and permanent damage to your tooth. Over time your teeth can appear more yellow in colour as your enamel becomes thinner.
Use a straw.
Reduce the contact of acid by using a straw to drink soft drinks, juices and sports beverages, as this will significantly reduce the amount of acid your teeth are exposed to.
Wash it down with water.
Drink plenty of water, especially between meals and juices or smoothies to wash acid out of your mouth.
Wait before brushing.
Avoid brushing your teeth straight after consuming acidic foods and drinks. Your saliva will slowly cancel out the acidity in your mouth and get it back to its natural balance.
While the loss of tooth enamel is permanent, the key of course is to catch it early. By being mindful about what you eat and drink you can stop the acid attack and ensure your beautiful smile will last a lifetime!