Too much food or stomach acids can harm your teeth

It is said that Vitamin C is also an important ingredient for the health and improvement of your gums while strengthening your immune system at the same time. But it has often been said that too much or too little of anything is not good. In this case, too much Vitamin C that can be found in oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes can do a lot of damage on your teeth. But aside from these, here are some other foods that are known to have low pH levels; this includes tomato products, pickles, coffee, cranberries and alcohol.

What really happens is, your tooth enamel weakens and wears away from the acids of the foods and drinks you ingest which causes teeth discolouration. But when the tooth enamel is weakened, teeth demineralisation starts to happen which exposes the dentin of your teeth making it a lot more sensitive. In such cases, brushing can be a good thing but it may not be a good idea to do just right after ingesting acidic foods. Because enamel softens due to acid, brushing it right away would just erode your teeth faster. Wait for a couple of minutes as this would give the enamel enough time to settle back again. Better be careful next time because demineralisation often leads to tooth decay.

But don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that you have to avoid eating acidic foods, just consume acidic food together with something that has higher pH levels thus lowering the acidity. Some of these foods include: mangoes, nuts, bananas, oatmeal, apples, cheese, melons, whole grains, brown rice, vegetables and eggs. Furthermore, lean meats and fish also have lower levels of acidity. These foods will neutralise the acids from you acidic saliva thus shielding your tooth enamel. Also, it provides calcium and phosphorous which are a much needed minerals to put back into your teeth.

Too much food or stomach acids can harm your teeth
Photo: Lukas, Pexels.

But aside from acids that you get from the foods that you eat, did you know that stomach or gastric acids can also cause erosion to your teeth. We all know that natural acids are produced in your stomach which aids in food digestion. There are times when this acid would travel up your throat all the way to your mouth, especially when you’ve had too much to eat. Normally, thanks to our saliva that balances our mouth’s acid levels and makes everything fine again.

It’s not true however for those people who have GERD or acid reflux. This is when your gastric acids would reach your mouth at the course of the day. It is most damaging however during sleep because you don’t swallow as much which leads your mouth to producing less saliva in the process. Another side effect of this is it lowers the production of saliva which also increases your chance of having cavities. Acid reflux can also wear away the tooth’s enamel found on the inside and the chewing surfaces of your teeth.
If you are suffering from acid reflux, you could always try to chew sugar-free gums that boost the production of saliva which helps neutralise and wash off the acids left inside your oral cavity.

Fluoride and desensitising toothpaste may help a lot in strengthening your tooth enamel. It would also help if you avoid smoking and alcohol as well as eating 3 hours before going to sleep to lessen episodes of acid reflux.

But aside from all of these, the best prevention is to visit your dentist for your twice a year dental cleanings. This is important because by visiting regularly, dental erosion may be identified in its early stages. Be conscious about your eating habits, drink plenty of water as this helps produce saliva which cleanses your mouth of these acids regularly; brush your teeth after every meal, floss once a day and always follow your daily oral routine.
Always keep in mind that establishing an oral health routine is important for maintaining a healthy mouth. Remember that prevention is always better than cure, learn to control the problem before it starts, this would give you more time to enjoy life without the hassles.

Dr. Philip Song
Dr. Philip Song
I am a dentist at North Ryde Dentistry and I am a firm believer in continuing education and I believe it is important for a dentist to have the most up to date knowledge of materials and procedures to provide patients with optimal dental care, thus I regularly attend conferences, seminars and I like to be able to offer my patients the best clinical practice in dentistry.
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