The enamel is your teeth’s primary protection against damage and further bacterial infection. So it’s right to say that the wearing off of the tooth enamel could be detrimental to your dental structure, giving a portal for bacteria to go through your gums and small nerves. There are many ways to prevent enamel erosion such as choosing a fluoride-based toothpaste, for one. However, there may also be something about the food that you eat that may contribute towards destroying your teeth’s natural defense.
We might be surprised to know that some everyday food items have the strong potential to destroy our teeth enamel. Generally, you must look out for food that:
- Contain too much acid and sugar
- Have a very thick consistency (since it’s difficult to brush them off)
- Have a great potential to get stuck in-between teeth
If you think about it, these are mostly present in the food that we enjoy on a daily basis. To be more specific:
- Soft Drinks
Soft drinks come off as the winner if we’re talking about the most number of acid and sugar in one drink. The acidity of this beverage is so astounding that it could clean up a dirty toilet. Sounds like a pretty good household cleaner, that you should be asking yourself why you are even drinking it. If you were to rate among the food and drinks that people consume everyday, soft drinks would top the list of the most enamel-eroding of all.
The culprits—phosphoric, malic, citric, and tartaric acids—are the main ingredients of the perfect antagonist of a healthy dental structure. These guys are just too strong for your enamel to handle on a regular basis. Adding to that, bubbly, citrus-flavored beverages are said to erode your enamel three times more than colas do.
- Pickled Vegetables
Sorry to burst your bubble, but pickled goodies aren’t necessarily innocent just because they’re “vegetables”. Pickles are primarily made with tons of vinegar to allow its preservation and this is the reason why it’s not a good idea to have too much of it. Your teeth enamel hates anything acidic and you’ll be destroying it little by little if you don’t moderate your pickle consumption. Dentists recommend a good brushing session after eating them.
- Sports Drinks
Sports drinks are made for athletes and sports players and is not meant to be a beverage for everyday use. While it is marketed as a healthy choice over a soft drink or even water, the truth is, it is very acidic and sugary.
- Jelly and Jam
You favorite childhood sweets may be the reason why you had some tooth decays back in those days. The amount of sugar packed in every container is a big no-no, plus its’ sticky consistency could make it harder to remove from your enamel, causing it to weaken and eventually wear off.
- Fruit Juices
Fresh fruit juices are entirely harmless, or are they? Fruit juices, especially those with citrus flavors, are loaded with tons of acids that are sure to be an enamel stripper. On the other hand, natural fruit juices are packed with antioxidants that are good for your body, so don’t eliminate them completely. Just have them in moderation and clean your teeth when you do. Among those mentioned, fruit juices pose the least hazard towards your enamel, unless they are powdered and heavily made up of artificial flavorings.
What should I do?
It’s hard to detach yourself from your favorite food, but you need to minimize them if you want your pearly whites to be as durable as you needed them to be. Also, here are a few more points that you want to remember when consuming acidic foods:
- DO NOT brush your teeth right after you have an acidic food or beverage. This will just cause serious corrosion of your enamel.
- A straw may be helpful in decreasing the effects of the acids to your teeth as the beverage will instead glide directly into your throat.
- Water is your best friend when consuming enamel-stripping foods or beverages. Reduce the risk by drinking sips of water alternately with your other beverage.
- Sugar-free gums can also rescue your teeth after a good intake of an enamel-eroding food by neutralizing your oral environment and activating your salivary glands to produce more saliva for dental washing purposes.
About author:I am Valerie M. Preston, DDS with more than 20 years of experience in the dental industry. I’m an expert in restorative and cosmetic dentistry and a proud member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the American Dental Association and the North Carolina Dental Society. I own VPreston Dental in Raleigh, NC, a dental clinic known for its spa-like ambiance. For more details, you can check out my website, Facebook and Twitter pages.