Sugar often takes the blame for being the worst food product for your teeth, but acid develops from this sugar and bacteria and eats away at the enamel. There are foods rich in this corrosive dental acid as well, and many of them are healthy. Learn more about this acid that grows from the sugars in your mouth and see how it takes its toll on your oral health.
How Acid Develops in Your Mouth
Everyone has a certain amount of acid in their mouths on a daily basis – the problem is when that acid is excessive or is left on the teeth to eat away at their enamel.
When you eat foods that contain simple sugars, acid grows from these and begins to erode the hard surfaces of the teeth. Bacteria and acid from the food you eat sticks to your teeth and the acids they produce do corrosive damage to their dentin, enamel, and cementum.
Eating Your Enamel – Acid and Your Oral Health
The biggest problem that arises from acid is that it eats holes through each layer of your teeth. Cavities are holes in the teeth and are caused by acid from sugars and bacteria. Tooth decay from acid eating away your enamel can cause a variety of problems:
- Weaken your tooth
- Cause pain as your tooth loses its structure
- Loosening or loss of your tooth
- Difficulty eating or chewing with your teeth
- Varying degrees of dental caries
3 Forms of Dental Caries (Cavities)
Arguably the most common problem caused by acid is that it eats craters out of your teeth and causes cavities. What most people do not know is that the type of cavity differs based on how many layers the acid has eaten through. These are the three stages of dental caries:
- Dental Caries – Only the enamel is damaged
- Dentinal Caries – The corrosion has progressed into the tooth’s dentin
- Cementum Caries – The deepest and most rare form of cavities
Which Foods Cause the Most Acid?
All liquids have a rating on the pH meter that shows how acidic they are and food products do as well. The foods with a low pH level are highly acidic and can pose more of a threat to your oral health. Here are some of the foods that are known to be most acidic:
- Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit)
- Tomato products (pasta sauce, hot sauce, ketchup, salsa)
- Alcohol (beer, wine, liquor)
- Fruit juices
Tips for Minimizing the Acid in Your Mouth
If left on your teeth, acidic foods can cause damage to them over time. But this doesn’t mean that avoiding every acidic food is the answer. Many acidic foods are healthy, so they still can have a consistent place in your pantry. Instead of avoiding acidic foods altogether, just follow these tips for keeping acid from causing dental damage to your teeth:
- Have water with highly acidic foods
- Visit your dentist – they can spot early dental erosion
- Drink lots of water – water and saliva help keep your mouth clean
- Use an enamel-building toothpaste
- Brush & floss twice daily – especially after acidic foods
Learn More about Preventing Acid at Dentistry of Nashville
Now that you understand why acid is one of the biggest threats to your oral health, you can take better actions to prevent it. Along with consistent home care, keeping up with your bi-annual dental visits will do a lot to keep your oral health intact. Drs. Fleming, Elan, and Vaughn have the experience to provide advanced dental treatments and improve your smile. Contact the Dentistry of Nashville today to see what we can do for you.