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Foods That Can Weaken Tooth Enamel

A Poor Diet

Those who are conscious about their dental health may wonder, how is it they still get cavities and tooth decay even with an excellent maintenance routine. In some cases, it’s more complicated. There is more involved than just a good dental routine. For some, genetics can play a role in tooth decay. However, if you work hard and still struggle with the occasional cavity, then your diet is more likely to be the reason. It may surprise you what foods specifically are the issue? The food we eat can be responsible for heavy discoloration and the weakening of tooth enamel. Pay close attention to what you eat, keep a record, then consider the following.

Avoid Acidic Foods

Tooth enamel is the hard, semi-translucent, whitish part of the tooth that is visible above your gums. Your enamel is primarily composed of minerals that are strong but not impermeable to concentrated acidic foods. As acid reacts with the minerals in enamel, the result can be tooth decay. It begins with the smallest hole then snowballs into a large cavity. Foods saturated with color, like wine, coffee, dark berries, etc. can corrupt enamel, staining the surface of the tooth. Stains may not undermine the integrity of your teeth, but they are ugly. Discoloration is nothing to worry about compared to damage caused by acid. In fact, acid does more direct damage to teeth than sugar. So how can you avoid acidic foods?

Measured by pH

Acidic levels are measured in pH (potential of hydrogen) which is measured on a scale of 1 to 7. The lower the pH the higher the acid level. Alkalinity (the lack of potential hydrogen) is the opposite of acidic. Foods that have a pH level of 3 or less can do damage to your enamel, while foods measuring 4 or higher are safe. But here is the catch; some foods with high levels of acid can benefit your health and taste great. For example, lemons, grapefruit, strawberries, grapes, and apples all have documented health benefits but have low pH. Sometimes the benefits outweigh the risks. Foods with moderate acidity include pineapple, oranges, tomatoes, maple syrup, yogurt, raisins, pickles, and honey. And foods high in pH include milk, most cheeses, eggs, and water.

The Triple Threat

Contrast these natural foods with man made treats like pop and you quickly identify a danger. All pop has both high levels of sugar and acid, and at the same time can stain your teeth. You might call it a “triple threat” and a “huge contributor to enamel decay”. It may be very difficult or even impossible to avoid acidic foods completely, however eliminating the obvious ones is a good start. You can also rinse your mouth after eating acidic foods which can dilute or limit your enamels exposure to them. The timing of your oral routine can also make a significant difference in the war on tooth decay. Brushing 30 min. after each meal is recommended.

Not an Inevitable Outcome

Although enamel damage is common, it does not have to be an inevitable outcome. Knowledge of the foods that damage your teeth can be the key to preventing discoloration and decay. With a few simple preventive measures, your teeth will stay strong and white for a lifetime.

Make an appointment today at Lions Valley Dental and make sure you have no enamel damage.