In Part 1 of this series, we learned about pH levels and how our dental and overall bodily health are interconnected. This is why I offer holistic dentistry at my San Diego practice : what affects one part of the body affects the whole thing! Today, I will discuss some highly acidic foods and drinks, and provide some helpful tips on how to minimize their impact on your dental health. Highly Acidic Foods To Avoid Sugar isn’t the only thing that threatens the integrity of your smile highly acidic foods can also damage tooth enamel, leading to problems including pain, discoloration, and increased risk of tooth decay. Some of the worst offenders include:
- Sodas, sports drinks, and processed fruit juices
- Beer, wine, and liquor
- Coffee and black tea
- Canned fruit
- Pickled foods (even vegetables)
- White bread and pastries
- Beef, pork, and shellfish
- Canned tuna and sardines
- Eggs and hard cheeses
- Artificial sweeteners
- Condiments such as ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, and even jam
Many Americans consume these foods on a regular basis. But a diet that is consistently high in these acidic foods puts you at risk of significant calcium loss in your bones and teeth. Tips For A Healthy pH Level The answer to maintaining a healthy pH is to limit your intake of those highly acidic foods listed above, while eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, and grains like wild rice, quinoa and lentils. Herbal and green teas and milk provide a balance to acidic drinks. But when you do enjoy high-acid foods, there are a few tips to keep in mind to help minimize the impact of the pH levels on your teeth:
- Timing: Eat high-acid foods as part of a meal. This will help to balance the alkaline and acidity. Also, avoid eating high-acid foods right before bed, as saliva production decreases significantly when you sleep. Saliva helps to neutralize the acid in food and drink.
- Use a straw: Using a straw when drinking a soda or other highly acidic beverage will help limit the liquid’s contact with your teeth. Also, swallow these beverages quickly don’t let them linger in your mouth!
- Neutralize: After eating a food with high acid, have a bite of goat cheese or swish with water or a fluoride rinse. Or chew a sugar free gum to stimulate saliva production. All of these will help to neutralize the acid.
- Planned brushing: Don’t brush your teeth immediately after eating high-acid foods. This can spread the acid around your teeth, just like toothpaste, giving it greater coverage on your pearly whites. Rather, brush about 30 minutes before eating these foods. If you must brush after, wait at least 30 minutes. This allows time for your saliva to mix with the acid and neutralize it.
Preventative care is always the best way to keep your smile bright. To learn more about Holistic Dentistry or to schedule an appointment in our La Jolla, CA offices, give me a call at (858) 5521223. Here’s to your dental and overall health! About the Author: This post was written by Dr. George Georgaklis. Dr. George is a cosmetic and orthodontic dentist in San Diego, Ca. He loves to help his clients achieve their dream smiles.