14 Ways You Damage Your Teeth
6 sipping and snacking habits that erode enamel
- Do you eat a lot of fruit? Not to give fruit a bad name, but fruits like plums, pomegranates, grapes, lemons, and limes, though otherwise very nutritious, all contain high levels of citric, malic, or tartaric acid. And too much acid like this can erode the enamel of the teeth.
- Do you eat a lot of pickles, yogurt, or other fermented foods? Like fruits, yogurt and pickles are quite acidic, containing lactic acid. Eaten too often, these high-acid foods can impede the mouth's own efforts to defend against acid erosion.
- Do you drink lots of soft drinks, juice, or sports drinks? As more and more people have taken to drinking pop, dentists notice more and more enamel erosion. Cola-based soft drinks contain phosphoric acid, while non-cola drinks - usually clear, bubbly concoctions with lemon or lime flavours - feature citric acid. Though they tend to have higher pH levels (meaning less acidity), the citric acid in non-cola soft drinks has been shown to be especially bad for the enamel.
- Do you like to drink pop when you're thirsty? Ah, a crisp, cold soft drink sounds so nice when you're parched, doesn't it? But when you're at your thirstiest, your mouth may be quite dry and low on protective saliva. Without the saliva to neutralize acid, swigging pop would be one of the worst things you could do for your teeth. Drink water instead!
- Are you a wine connoisseur? Since it comes from grapes, which are acidic, wine naturally contains acid that can wear down tooth enamel. For less acidic wine, opt for an Italian red, which seems to have a less corrosive effect than French wine or white wine. And unless you're a professional wine-taster, try not to swish wine around in your mouth for too long. Swishing splashes the wine all over your teeth, bathing them in acid.
- Do you like a good nightcap? If you're going to drink wine, pop, juice, or sports drinks, give yourself a couple of hours before heading to bed. Just like swishing, sipping on acidic drinks before bed means that your teeth will spend hours in contact with corrosive acids. Brush before hitting the pillow, but be sure to wait about an hour after drinking to brush. Brushing immediately after consuming acidic foods or drinks is not advised since the enamel remains soft after a potentially erosion-causing activity, making the enamel susceptible to mechanical wears and tears.