How to Protect Your Teeth If You Enjoy Eating Acidic Foods
Some foods are acidic, such as foods made from tomatoes, like red pasta sauce, salsa, and tomato pizza base. Citric fruits and products made with citric fruits are also acidic. These acidic foods may be delicious, but they damage tooth enamel because of their high acidity.
Acidic foods cause enamel erosion
Some food beverages, like coffee and soft drinks, are acidic too. If your diet includes a lot of acidic foods, your teeth are at risk of enamel erosion. Acidic foods lower the pH of your saliva, creating an acidic environment in your mouth. Even tooth enamel, which is harder than bone, deteriorates when exposed to acidic foods over time.
However, you might struggle to cut acidic foods and beverages out of your diet altogether. Here are some tips to help you protect your tooth enamel when you consume acidic foods.
Drink acidic beverages through a straw
Acidic beverages like coffee, soft drinks, and orange juice bathe teeth in a bath of acid, especially if you consume them slowly. But you can provide some protection for your teeth by using a straw when drinking acidic beverages. Using a straw helps divert acidic beverages away from your teeth.
If you don't wish to use a straw for coffee, which can be difficult, rinse your mouth by drinking a glass of water after every cup of coffee.
Drink milk after meals
Dairy products made from milk contain caseins that stick to teeth and create a protective film. Milk is effective at neutralizing acids. So if you know you are about to eat a meal that contains acidic food, make sure you have some milk in the fridge. After your meal, drink a glass of milk to neutralize the acids in your saliva.
Drink water during meals
Water keeps you hydrated, which helps your body produce saliva. And water helps to flush away acidic particles and liquids from your mouth. So include a glass of water with meals that contain acidic products.
Include dairy products in your meals
This is especially useful when eating out at a restaurant, where milk may not be available. If you know your meal contains something acidic, like salsa, add a dairy product to the meal, like cheese, cottage cheese, or plain yoghurt for dessert. Dairy products can neutralize the acids in acidic food.
Chew sugar-free gum after meals
Saliva is your body's natural defence against enamel erosion because it can neutralize acidic compounds. A good way to stimulate saliva production after acidic meals is to chew some sugarless gum. The act of chewing stimulates saliva production.
Your dentist can help you to protect your teeth against acidic foods too. If you are worried about your teeth, speak to your dentist about preventative treatments for acid erosion.