Highly Acidic Foods and Drinks: How They Affect the Mouth
Acid erosion, or dental erosion, is a serious condition caused most often by the long-term exposure to highly acidic foods and drinks. At the practice of Philadelphia cosmetic dentist Bruce Wilderman,acid erosion is taken seriously. Dr. Wilderman encourages patients to limit or exclude highly acidic foods and drinks from their diets.
Foods and drinks with a pH (or measurement of acidity or baseness) of 5.0 or lower are considered acidic. The lower the pH, the more acidic a substance is. Orange juice, for example, has a pH of 3.8; and gastric fluid - which breaks down food particles to liquid within the gastrointestinal tract - has a pH of 1.2.
Highly Acidic Foods and Drinks
Acid erosion begins with the continued and excessive consumption of highly acidic foods and drinks. These foods and drinks include, but are not limited to:
- Fruit juices (whether real or artificial)
- Carbonated drinks (i.e. soft drinks, soda water)
- Sports drinks
- Lemonades and limeades
- Dilutable powder drinks (i.e. Crystal Light, Hi-C)
- Berries (i.e. blueberries and cranberries)
- Canned or pickled fruits (glazing and canning juices and gels are usually acidic)
- Dairy products (i.e. milk, yogurt, ice cream, etc.)
- Processed meats (i.e. ham, sausage, corn beef)
- Fish (i.e. shellfish, seafood)
- Some nuts (i.e. pecans, peanuts, cashews, pistachios)
- Some cooking oils (olive, sesame, safflower, sunflower, corn, canola)
Dr. Wilderman is well aware that the elimination of these foods entirely is a difficult sell to most patients. Additionally, a large portion of them have high nutritional value regardless of their acidic nature. Luckily, acid erosion can be avoided even with the consumption of these foods and drinks, with a few precautions.
Preventing Acid Erosion
The frequent, habitual consumption of highly acidic foods is thought to be the driving factor in dental erosion. That means, while drinking a soft drink every once in a while will not necessarily be harmful, the twice daily consumption of a soda beverage may start acid erosion.
Saliva naturally buffers pH within the mouth, although some drinks like fruit juices are more resistant to this effect. The best defense patients have is to maintain a regular dental hygiene schedule that includes brushing, flossing, and rinsing, and to limit the regular consumption of these foods. When acidic foods and drinks are consumed, patients should rinse the mouth with water to flush the acidic content away from the teeth. Additionally, patients should maintain regular visits to a dentist to ensure that dental erosion has not begun.
Acid erosion breaks down the enamel and dentin of teeth and can, in its advanced stages, cause tooth loss. To prevent this, Dr. Wilderman recommend that patients stay smart about the highly acidic foods and drinks they consume, and be prepared to rinse and clean the teeth shortly after.
For more information on dental erosion and its prevention, please contact Dr. Wilderman at Artistic Expressions Dentistry today for a confidential consultation. Artistic Expressions Dentistry is the area’s premier Philadelphia restorative dentistry practice, offering procedures that can reverse and restore damage caused by acid erosion.