Summer is just around the corner, and with it comes lots of fun in the sun and gatherings filled with delicious food and drink. There are several popular summer treats that, although extremely delicious, are also highly acidic foods, making them problematic for your tooth enamel. By monitoring the acidic foods that you consume, you can enjoy all the summer flavors without exposing your teeth to erosion. The following guidelines can help you keep your pearly whites in peak condition.
What Does Tooth Erosion Look Like?
Consuming too many foods and beverages with a high acid content can permanently damage the enamel that protects your teeth. This will result in changes to the appearance of your teeth and can make your teeth more susceptible to cavities and infections from bacteria. The following changes in your teeth may be a sign of tooth erosion.
- Teeth appear yellow or translucent near the edges.
- Small cracks, denting, or rough edges appear.
- Change in fillings.
- Pain due to increased sensitivity to sweet, cold, or hot drinks and food.
- Increase in cavities.
What Foods Cause Tooth Erosion?
We all know that foods high in sugar can cause tooth decay, but consuming too many acidic foods and beverages can also damage your teeth. The following items are high in acid and can harm your tooth enamel.
- Fruit juices such as orange, cranberry, pineapple, and lemon.
- Citrus snacks include oranges, lemons, and limes.
- Summer fruits include plums, peaches, blueberries, apples, and tomatoes.
- Tomato-based summer favorites such as salsa, ketchup, and hot sauce.
- Wine varietals of all kinds are extremely acidic.
- Sour candy and gum are a double whammy as they contain high amounts of sugar and acidity.
- Sugar itself increases the bacteria content in your mouth, creating an acidic environment. So, watch out for all the funnel cakes and cotton candy.
- Carbonated beverages are one of the most damaging beverages for your teeth. Try to limit the acid-producing fizz when possible. You also want to monitor the number of sports drinks your children consume at summer tournaments. Lemon, orange, and lime citrus flavorings all increase your risk of tooth erosion.
How to Minimize Tooth Erosion
Many of your favorite summer flavors can be harmful to your oral health, from fresh-squeezed lemonade to tomato pie. Does that mean you have to give up all the things you love about summer? No, you can still enjoy the food and drinks you love and protect your teeth. By making highly acidic foods and beverages more of a treat than a daily part of your diet, you can still enjoy the flavors of summer without negatively affecting your teeth. Other helpful ways to enjoy those summer treats are:
- Eat highly acidic foods as part of a meal instead of on their own. Eating other foods along with them will help neutralize the acid.
- Use a straw when drinking highly acidic beverages to reduce contact with your teeth.
- After consuming food or beverages high in acid, rinse your mouth with water. Drinking milk or eating dairy products such as cheese will also help neutralize the acid.
- Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after eating or drinking something highly acidic. The acid weakens the enamel, so it is best to wait at least 30 minutes before brushing.
- Choose dental products that include the ADA Seal of Acceptance. You can find products specifically intended to reduce the risk of enamel erosion caused by acids in your diet.
- Fluoride varnishes placed on your teeth by your dental hygienist can help the remineralization of your enamel damaged by acidity and has a six-month-lasting effect!
One of the best ways to maintain your oral health is by
scheduling a regular dental checkup every six months.
Mention this article at your cleaning and receive a free fluoride treatment! $41 value.