- Fruit Juice
- Other Acidic or Acid-Forming Foods Can be a Problem
- Sports Drinks
- Strongly Pigmented Foods
- Sweet Drinks without Straws
Fruit juice is healthy, right? Well, kind of. Fruit juice is high in essential vitamins and nutrients, which are great. It is also high in acid and sugar, which is bad. But the worst part of all is that people don’t think about the sugar content when they choose juice, thinking they took the healthy option. In reality, a single bottle of apple juice has twice as much sugar as a Cadbury Cream Egg, and is just as bad for your teeth.
Many acidic foods, in addition to juice, foods are healthy. For example, good wine vinegar or kimchi contain a lot of anti-oxidants. Despite these health benefits, the acid can still be a problem for your mouth in large enough amounts. If you have sensitive teeth, you may want to consider eliminating acidic foods from your diet.
Similarly, all animal products are in a category of food called “acid-forming.” This means that they break down into acid in a rapid chemical process. Even worse, many of these foods are sticky and get caught in teeth, giving them a chance to form acids. Eating less meat and cheese is generally a good idea health-wise, and definitely good for your teeth, so look into it!
You’d think a drink marketed to active people would be healthy, right? Nope! Turns out, sports drinks have tons of acid and sugar that eats away at your teeth. If you need to stay hydrated, look into pure electrolyte formulations, or eat bananas and salty proteins before working out to keep your minerals up.
Not all tooth staining comes from acid or bacteria. A common culprit is pigment, strongest in coffee, tea, soda, and food coloring. Pigment works its way into tiny pits and cracks in your enamel, creating an overall yellow look to your teeth. This pigment is also notoriously difficult to remove: typical dental tools often have no effect and the teeth must be treated chemically.
From a dental perspective, straws are a wonderful invention. Most people keep the straw end back in their mouths, limiting their teeth’s exposure to sugar, acid, and pigment.