When we hear the word “acid”, we may think of the various chemicals that we used to see in glass bottles in school science classes. Or maybe we see it as something that can cause heartburn and indigestion. However, acid also plays an important role in our oral health.
Although most of our diet consists of foods that are usually low in acidity, there are several foods and beverages that are sufficiently acidic to cause problems. Foods and beverages with high acidity can have serious consequences for our tooth enamel and are the cause of tooth corrosion.
How acid affects our mouth
Acid is a problem for teeth because it weakens the enamel of the teeth and leads to the damaging of the teeth. Every time we eat or drink anything acidic, the enamel on the teeth will soften in a short time and lose some of the mineral content. Our saliva will slowly eliminate this sour taste and restore our mouth to its natural balance. However, if this acid attack occurs too frequently, there will be no chance for our mouth to recover. This may cause our tooth enamel to slowly disappear.
Tooth enamel is the hardest protective layer of teeth, which protects the sensitive dentin underneath. After tooth enamel wears away, the underlying dentin will be exposed, which may cause pain and sensitivity. The most common types of acids in our food and beverages are carbonic acid, citric acid, and phosphoric acid. These acids weaken our tooth enamel and cause tooth corrosion. The culprits involved in acidic foods and beverages are the two Fs: fizz and fruit.
“Fizzing” is usually a clear sign of an acidic beverage. The most common of these are soft drinks, fizzy drinks, sodas, and carbonated drinks. It is important to remember that even “diet” brands are still harmful. If a lot of carbonated water is drunk, it will also play a certain role, because the weak acid contained in them can also harm our teeth. Some alcohols are also acidic. Beer, cider, prosecco, white wine, etc are all examples of alcoholic beverages. These alcohols are highly corrosive to our teeth.
Dr. Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, said: “We want to avoid the damage caused by carbonated drinks. The best way is to simply limit exposure to carbonated drinks. “Another tip is to swallow our drink quickly, without holding it in our mouth or swishing it around. Again, it’s all about reducing the time that our teeth are exposed to an acidic environment. Another method is to use a straw. This helps the drink to flow to our mouth and avoid prolonged contact with the teeth.”
Dr. Soha Dattani, Director of Scientific and Professional Affairs, GSK Consumer Health Department, said: “The beverage market is full of products with high acidity that can cause serious damage to our tooth enamel. As consumers, this often makes it difficult for us to choose beverages.This is true whether we are in supermarkets, restaurants, participating in events or social events. Frankly speaking, water is still the best drink for our teeth. Milk is also good because it helps neutralize the acid in the mouth. “
Fruits are an indispensable part of a healthy and balanced diet. However, many fruits contain citric acid, which can promote tooth erosion. The culprit is citrus fruits. These have a low pH, which means they are acidic. The most acidic fruits are lemons, limes, plums, grapes, grapefruits, and blueberries. Pineapples, oranges, peaches, and tomatoes are also high in acid. It is wrong to remove these foods from our diet-after all, they do have nutrients and our bodies need them. For our teeth, we can take some measures to limit the damage caused by fruits.