By Amy Gorin, MS, RDN
What are acidic foods? You should definitely know about acidic drinks and acidic fruits. Find out what you need to do to protect your teeth and strengthen enamel. Certain acidic foods can cause acid erosion of teeth.
When clients ask me about drinking juice, I tell them it can be a good way to take in fruits and vegetables, in addition to eating whole produce.
However, you should know some precautions to take about drinking juice and protecting your teeth enamel!
The Connection Between Acidic Drinks and Tooth Enamel
A study of 3,773 adults in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry shows that juice can harm your tooth enamel–if you don't take the proper precautions..
Study authors found that 80% of study participants had dental erosion—an irreversible condition in which a tooth’s enamel is progressively worn away—and 5% had severe erosion. Men were more likely to have tooth wear, although researchers aren’t sure if this is due to tooth care habits or genetics, or both.
In the study, drinking juice was linked with an increased likelihood of developing severe dental erosion. For every fruit drink serving per day, the chances of having moderate or severe tooth wear increased 32%.
Interestingly, grape juice offered a protective benefit, and study authors note this is an area for future research.
How to Repair Tooth Enamel
Here's some good news: There's a lot you can do to help keep your teeth in tip-top shape and strengthen enamel. For starters, follow these tips.
1. Drink Juice with Meals
Dental experts suggest sipping a glass of juice with meals to help neutralize the acid.
2. Wait to Brush
Wait at least 20 minutes to brush your teeth after drinking an acidic beverage. This is because acid softens enamel, and brushing can damage this temporarily softened enamel.
3. Eat Cheese
Eat a harder cheese, such as Cheddar or gouda, or drink milk after sipping juice. Research shows the calcium in these foods may promote enamel re-hardening.
4. Chew Gum
Chewing sugar-free gum after drinking juice may also help. This is because the gum increases the pH of saliva and may decrease enamel damage, per research.
5. Use a Straw
Drink juice through a straw to help reduce contact with the teeth—and thus erosion, according to research.
6. Use Special Toothpaste
If you already have enamel damage, remineralizing toothpastes, such as Enamelon or Pronamel may help increase the hardness of damaged teeth. These toothpastes can help with tooth enamel repair and help you have healthy teeth.
Other Acidic Foods to Know About
When it comes to tooth erosion causes, you may think there's a whole list of acidic foods and drinks to avoid.
But you simply should take the same precautions with these foods as you take with drinking foods. Doing so will help decrease acid erosion of your teeth.
- Fruit juices
- Tomato sauce
A version of this content originally appeared on WeightWatchers.com.
- The Relationship Between Consumption Of Beverages And Tooth Wear Among Adults In The United States, Journal of Public Health Dentistry
- Prevention. Part 3: Prevention Of Tooth Wear, British Dental Journal
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I'd love to hear from you! How are you working to strengthen enamel of your teeth? What other acid erosion teeth tips do you have?
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