5 Foods and Drinks That Can Harm Your Teeth

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A new year brings new goals and resolutions. For example, many people want to exercise more and focus on a healthier diet. While watching what you eat is very important for overall health, you might not consider how what you eat affects the health of your teeth. Many daily food and drink staples are some of the most acidic foods and drinks for your teeth.

Certain foods have a higher acidity than other foods. When you eat high-acidic foods, the acid attacks the enamel on your teeth and, over time, weakens your enamel. You may also notice sensitivity to hot or cold or a yellowish tint to your teeth. Weakened enamel on your teeth makes your teeth more susceptible to cavities and, in rare cases, may cause tooth loss.

While you may initially think foods high in sugar are the main culprit, you might be surprised to learn some of your healthier go-to favorites are just as much to blame. Check out 5 of the most acidic foods and drinks for your teeth.

1. Wine

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Red, white, ros, and sparkling. All delicious types of wine. For many, it’s not just a beverage; it’s a delicacy, a hobby, or even a profession. Wine is a way to wind down after a long day, toast with friends, or enjoy paired with a delicious meal. While some decide to drink less or not at all to focus on a healthier diet, wine is often an exception for many. However, while you may be able to justify the extra calories in wine, have you ever considered what wine is doing to your beautiful smile and the health of your teeth? 

While white wine is more acidic than red wine, they are both highly acidic and can be dangerous to your teeth. Sparkling wine adds an additional threat because it is carbonated, bringing us to another beloved drink: carbonated beverages.

2. Carbonated Beverages

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Would you have guessed carbonated beverages would be one of the most acidic foods and drinks for your teeth? They are so refreshing! Soda, diet soda, sports drinks, and sparkling water are all staples in many refrigerators and kitchens around the world. They are delicious as mixers, provide an extra boost of energy, or act as the perfect drink when water isn’t appealing. Sparkling water is also a great alternative to beverages high in sugar when you are focused on a healthier diet.  

Unfortunately, the bubbles that make carbonated beverages so refreshing are why it is dangerous to your teeth. The carbonation causes a higher acidity level in your drink and can harm the enamel on your teeth. Carbonated beverages are especially important to note since diet soda and sparkling water have become an extremely trendy beverage choice when watching your calorie intake. If you enjoy regular soda, its high sugar content can be a double threat.  

Sports drinks are another popular beverage that can be more harmful than good when it comes to the health of your teeth. Some are already high in sugar, in addition to having high acidity. If sports drinks are part of your daily workout routine, consider alternating with water or cutting back on consumption.

3. Aged Cheese

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Charcuterie boards are the new favorite appetizer. Some catering businesses focus entirely on charcuterie displays for weddings and parties. You can have customized charcuterie boards delivered to your door or as a gift. They are sophisticated, delicious, and stunning for something as small as a weekend dinner party to something larger like a wedding. And what would a charcuterie board be without a broad selection of delicious aged cheese? If that isn’t enough, don’t forget how beautifully a glass of wine pairs with charcuterie. Unfortunately, it isn’t the best pair for the enamel on your teeth and makes both two of the most acidic foods and drinks for your teeth.

Charcuterie boards are just one example. In fact, you may not realize how often you consume different types of aged cheese. Salads, sandwiches, pasta, and dips are all extremely popular dishes that include many kinds of aged cheese as a core ingredient. And while very delicious, aged cheese is, unfortunately, a highly acidic food.

4. Tomatoes

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Tomatoes are in everything. Salad, salsa, pasta, pizza, soup, sandwich toppings, ketchup, they are absolutely delicious and make fantastic sidekicks for so many meals! 

While this delicious fruit provides many health benefits for your body and helps keep you focused on a healthier diet, it is highly acidic and poses a risk to the enamel on your teeth. Tomatoes shouldn’t be removed from your diet just because they are harmful to your enamel. However, it is important to note tomato’s high acidity so that you only enjoy them in moderation.

5. Fruit: Citrus and Berries

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According to The Packer’s Fresh Trend 2021 report, lemons, strawberries, and blueberries were in the top 10 fruits purchased in 2020. Citrus and berries are daily staples for many people and are considered very important for a well-balanced diet. 

Lemons and limes are a refreshing garnish for many beverages, lemon water is a morning staple, and as you’ve learned from your favorite cooking show, citrus is a great way to elevate a dish due to its acidity. Citrus is also rich in Vitamin C and an excellent boost for your immune system.

Many diet trends recommend eating berries over other fruits because they are high in fiber and low in sugar. They are known to be a natural immune booster and are absolutely delicious! Berries are great in smoothies, oatmeal, or on their own as a healthy snack. 

According to the American Dental Association, lemon water is the highest acidic beverage you can consume. 

While citrus and berries are essential to your overall health, they are harmful to your enamel and can cause serious damage without the proper prevention and care. Keep reading to learn steps you can take to protect the enamel on your teeth while still eating and drinking these highly-acidic foods and drinks for your teeth. Remember to keep the health of your teeth in mind while you focus on a healthier diet.

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Steps to Protect Your Teeth While Enjoying High-Acidic Foods and Drinks

The point of this article is not to deter you from enjoying your favorite foods and drinks. Far from it! A well-balanced diet is extremely important for your overall health, and that includes your teeth. And on the same note, it’s okay to enjoy foods that aren’t as good for you as long as you consume them in moderation. But unfortunately, all of these foods are harmful to the health of your teeth. So, how can you help protect your teeth from what you eat?

Incorporate the following tips into your daily routine:

  • Rinse your mouth with water after eating. 
  • Don’t immediately brush your teeth after you eat. Your saliva helps remove the acid from your teeth, so waiting at least an hour before brushing is very beneficial. 
  • Use a straw while drinking. 
  • Use an American Dental Association approved toothpaste or a topical crème with calcium and phosphate meant to protect your enamel.
  • Maintain a healthy oral hygiene routine.

Adding these steps to your daily oral hygiene routine is a great way to help protect your teeth from your favorite foods and drinks. You don’t need to cut anything out from your diet completely; just remember to make the health of your teeth a priority

Every mouth is different and requires specific care. If you have concerns or questions about your oral health, reach out to your dental professional. They can answer any specific questions you may have and create the right plan for you.

Did any of your daily staples make the list? Were you surprised by any of the foods or drinks included in this list? Are you already practicing some of our daily tips? Comment below!


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