Are Acidic Foods Damaging Your Teeth?

  • By Laura Burgess

Many of us swear by our morning lemon water fix as a digestive aid, but it’s just as important to be mindful of your dental health when consuming acidic foods and drinks. To keep the acid level around your teeth low, acidic foods and drinks should be consumed with care, and in moderation.

So, is red wine acidic, and can the acid in apple juice damage your teeth? Read on to find out everything you need to know about the effects of acidic foods on your teeth here.

Is lemon acidic and bad for your teeth?

A glass of lemon water in the morning is a refreshing and beneficial way to start the day, but the issue for your teeth is lemon’s acidic quality.

The acid in lemons attacks the hard enamel surface of the teeth, slowly dissolving it. This is known as acid erosion, and the enamel erosion it creates is one of the leading causes of tooth sensitivity.

Solution

Is lemon juice’s acidic nature bad for your teeth? In large quantities, yes, so you’ll definitely want to consume this fruit in moderation. That said, starting your day with a glass of still water and drinking plenty of liquids throughout the day is a good habit for keeping your body hydrated. To reduce contact between your teeth and the acid in lemons, keep the lemon slices to a minimum.

Other foods high in acidity

Snacking on vitamin-packed fruit is great for your health, but it can be damaging for your teeth. This also applies to fruit juice: the acid in apple juice, citrus fruit juices and many others can contribute to acid erosion on teeth, especially if you drink them regularly.

You can usually tell high and low acidic food levels apart by taste. Food that has a sour or zingy taste like tomatoes, or anything pickled in vinegar, is likely to be high in acid. Sour sweets are also a major source of acid.

Solution

When you’re eating foods high in acidity, there are a few precautions you can take to limit its effects on your tooth enamel.

  • Consume foods that are high in acidity moderation. 
  • Try switching between eating acidic healthy food that could be harmful for teeth and their less acidic alternatives, such as bananas, watermelons, cantaloupe and honeydew melons. A balanced diet is key for healthy teeth and body.
  • As far as possible, keep acidic food to main mealtimes rather than snacking on them throughout the day, so that its contact with your teeth is limited.
  • Drink fruit juice all in one go, rather than sipping at intervals. 
  • Drink juice with a straw to avoid direct contact with teeth.
  • Rinse your mouth with water or drink a glass of water afterwards to dilute the acid.
  • Avoid brushing for at least 30 minutes after eating or drinking to minimise the potential for enamel erosion.

 

glass of lemon water bad for teeth

 

Are sugar-free drinks bad for your teeth? 

Fruit juice can be bad for oral health, and the same can be said about sugar-free drinks. Even if soft drinks are sugar-free, they are some of the worst culprits for causing acid erosion on teeth. Many of these ‘healthy’ drinks actually contain citric acid, phosphoric acid, and tartaric acid, all of which can damage teeth. Carbonation, which gives many soft drinks their fizz, also raises the level of acidity for any drink.

Solution

Switch to drinks that don’t contain as much acid, like milk if you tolerate it well and, of course, water.

Is red wine acidic and bad for your teeth?

Much has been made of some of the health benefits of a small glass of red wine. However, while you’re sipping on a glass on red wine, you’ll experience the same issues as with lemon water, because red wine’s acid levels can contribute to enamel erosion. Nevertheless, it’s important to consume any alcoholic beverages in moderation.

Solution

To counteract the acid when you drink a glass of wine, drink water with it. There’s also a dental benefit to that popular wine accompaniment, cheese: it can help lessen the acid by raising the pH level and increasing the saliva in your mouth, and the calcium it contains will help to re-harden enamel. For this reason, snacking on dairy products after eating any sort of acidic foods and beverages is a good idea.

How to prevent acid erosion on your teeth

Consumption of acidic foods and drinks, like the ones mentioned above, can lead to enamel erosion, which in turn causes 80% of common dental problems like tooth sensitivity and eventual damage. While avoiding them altogether is unrealistic, taking the precautions above — such as drinking water alongside wine, or using a straw to drink fruit juice, can make a real difference in reducing acid erosion on teeth. Regular appointments with your dentist are also crucial in spotting early signs of damage and getting oral health advice that is tailored to you.

Enamel erosion happens to people of all ages, so it’s essential to use quality dental care products that will support your tooth enamel and keep it strong and healthy. Regenerate Enamel Science™ is the first system able to regenerate enamel mineral1 with exactly the same mineral that tooth enamel is made of, thanks to clinically proven NR-5™ technology. The use of the Regenerate’s Advanced Toothpaste in combination with the Regenerate’s Advanced Enamel Serum provides significant increase in enamel hardness, with 82%2 recovery of enamel hardness after 3 days. Integrating these products into your tooth care regime will help ensure the longevity of your smile.

¹Acts on early invisible stages of enamel erosion by restoring its mineral content and micro-hardness with regular use. Clinically proven.
²Based on an in-vitro test measuring enamel hardness after 3 days combined use of Toothpaste and Serum.

The advice in this article does not constitute medical advice; it is solely available for information purposes. We recommend that you consult your dentist If you are experiencing any gum or tooth problems. 

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