The 7 Worst Offenders for Harming Tooth Enamel
If you’re an avid soda drinker, you might want to think twice before cracking open your next soft drink. Sugary drinks are enemy number one when it comes to harming your tooth enamel.
What Is Tooth Enamel?
You can think of tooth enamel like a turtle’s shell. It surrounds the tooth, protecting the vulnerable interior from damage. Tooth enamel is actually a mineral. It’s also the hardest material in the entire human body, even though it’s incredibly thin (just a couple millimeters!). However, it’s not indestructible. Tooth enamel can be damaged or worn away by overzealous brushing, bruxism (grinding your teeth), certain kinds of medications, acid reflux, dry mouth, and consumption of acidic foods and drinks.
In the United States, soda is by far the leading cause of tooth enamel erosion, especially among children. In fact, 41 percent of children between the ages of 11 and 13 have some degree of enamel erosion. Because you can’t regrow enamel, it’s very important to take care of it from an early age.
A good place to start is by avoiding the seven worst foods for enamel.
Sodas are filled with sugar. They are also very acidic, as they’re filled with corrosive substances like phosphoric acid. Soda can also cause a host of other health problems, such as osteoporosis and diabetes.
2. Fruit juices
It’s true that juice can be good for you. However, too much juice consumption can harm your enamel, as fruit – especially citrus fruits – are high in acid content. It’s okay to drink juice, but balance your intake with plenty of water. You can also protect your teeth by rinsing your mouth with water after you consume juice
It’s not just fruit juices that hurt enamel. Fruit in its whole form can also damage your teeth. As with fruit juice, it’s okay to include fruit in your diet, but do so in moderation.
4. Sports Drinks
Sports drinks are often advertised as a better alternative to water. Many sports drinks contain electrolytes, which are important for muscle health and nerve contraction. However, these drinks are usually high in sugar, as well as acids that harm enamel.
5. Marinara Sauce
If the thought of skipping your family’s spaghetti dinner night fills you with horror, don’t worry. It’s perfectly okay to eat pasta sauce in moderation, but keep in mind that tomatoes are very acidic. If you’re eating spaghetti, drink plenty of water.
Vinegar is a base ingredient in many salad dressings. Unfortunately, it’s also acidic. One study revealed that teenagers whose diets include large amounts of vinegar-based foods increased their risk of tooth enamel erosion by 30 to 85 percent.
7. Sour Candies
Many people love the combination of sweet and sour. However, the sour flavor in these candies is usually achieved by using acids. The next time you feel like reaching for your favorite package of sour gummies or sweet and sour candies, try chewing a piece of sugarless gum instead. Studies show that chewing gum can cut down on snack cravings in between meals.
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Enamel erosion can also occur due to certain dental and health conditions, such as dry mouth and clenching or grinding the teeth. Orthodontic treatment can properly align the jaw and eliminate many habits that lead to tooth decay and other problems.
We serve adults and children in the greater San Diego region, including La Jolla, Carmel Valley, and Del Mar. Give us a call to learn more about our services. We look forward to hearing from you.