While eating and drinking in our daily routine, we are not that mindful of the acidity and alkalinity of these foods. Though taking more acidic foods can affect your oral health.
Acids can wear out the enamel easily and can also increase acidity in your stomach.
Therefore, it is best to keep your potential renal acid load in limits.
Your body’s pH is 7.4. This is the optimum pH level for biological processes.
Hence, keeping your PRAL within healthy limits does not influence the biological processes.
This article elaborates on the harm of eating foods with a low pH level.
Keep reading to know what these foods are and how you can limit their intake.
What is Acidity and How Is It Harmful?
The pH level ranges from 0 to 14.
pH 7 is neutral and the pH of water is 7.
Any value below 7 is acidic and above 7 is slightly alkaline and more on the pH scale.
The body’s pH ranges between 7.35 to 7.45 while the saliva’s pH range is 6.5 to 7.5.
Hence, this pH prevents the acids from eroding the enamel.
Though, by constantly eating and drinks foods plus drinks high in acid, you make saliva more acidic which can cause erosion. More on that below!
Moreover, you increase your chances of chronic metabolic acidosis, alongside risking yourself to diseases in nearby future.
These diseases include uric acid stones, liver problems and cardiac diseases.
Reflux can also erode your enamel.
This is because the calcium in bones and enamel restores the body’s pH balance whenever it turns acidic.
Therefore, the human body should have an acid-base balance for better bone health.
Your diet should contain a good balance of fruits and vegetables, proteins and fats.
Though, you can still limit harmful substances like salt, condiments containing a high amount of salts, Mozarella and Parmesan cheese as well as grains.
These foods are also responsible for causing more acidity:
- Processed meats/Fresh meat
- Starchy foods such as granola, oats
- Animal protein
- Sodas and carbonated beverages
That said, there are other foods with a higher acidic content that can cause damage to your teeth.
Let’s find out about them below!
Acidic Foods that Harm Teeth
The saliva is made up of 99 percent water, hence, its pH is almost neutral.
However, eating and drinking such foods can cause its pH to lower.
Moreover, these foods can directly on your teeth and facilitate enamel erosion by releasing acids.
Foods that definitely cause this problem include:
Tomatoes/Tomato Ketchup/ Tomato Juice
Tomatoes have a PRAL level of -1.8.
The reading is negative because even if it is acidic, its effect is alkalizing, i.e. it helps to reduce the levels of acid inside your body.
That said, its initial acidity can still worsen acid reflux, moreover, it can harm, your teeth.
There are tons of fruits that have a low pH value.
These include citrus fruits and others.
- Lime- PRAL = -0.4
- Orange PRAL = -1.6
- Plums PRAL = -1.7
- Blackberry PRAL = -1.0
- Blueberries PRAL = -0.6
- Pomegranates PRAL = -8.1
- Pineapple PRAL = -1.1
- Apples PRAL = -1.8
- Peaches PRAL = -1.5
- Grapes PRAL =-2.4
These fruits have a high acid content.
Hence, if you eat more of these then they will result in enamel erosion.
Especially when it comes to fruit juices, they contain more sugar content than the fruits standalone.
The bacteria metabolize the sugars into acids, that attack the enamel.
Hence, it is better to eat these fruits than drink their fresh juices.
Though, it is essential to limit their intake.
Speaking of drinks…
Sodas and Soft Drinks
Carbonated beverages such as soft drinks contain a high amount of acids.
Carbonic acid and phosphorus are a part of every carbonated drink.
But drinks such as hot chocolate and beer contain a high amount of phosphorus.
Alcoholic drinks such as red wine or white wine do contain acids but lower phosphorus amounts.
Other acidic foods include jams, vinegar and jellies.
How These Acidic Foods Harm Teeth?
The most detrimental effect of coming in contact with acids is dental erosion.
Enamel erosion occurs as a result of demineralization.
The enamel is very strong and contains 96 percent minerals.
The saliva also contains minerals such as calcium that remineralize the teeth if demineralization occurs.
However, by consuming acidic substances, the overall environment inside your mouth is acidic.
Therefore, your enamel is more susceptible to erosion.
Discoloration and Staining
As you enamel wears down, it exposes the dentin.
The dentin is naturally yellower than the enamel, hence your teeth appear discolored and stained.
Overtime enamel thinning also exposes you to more staining and yellower teeth.
Cavities and Decay
Furthermore, the enamel protects your teeth from decay and cavities.
However, as the enamel thins, the bacteria will accumulate on the enamel and so will the plaque.
This can lead to a tooth cavity.
The enamel is not only helpful in preventing cavities and staining but also reduces sensitivity.
You may feel strong tooth pain whenever you are in contact with a stimulus.
This includes hot and cold drinks and food, sweet and sour foods and those with string flavors plus even something minimal like cold air.
Essentially, you can get a strong sensation with any of these triggers because your teeth become extremely sensitive thanks to erosion.
Problems with Edges of Teeth
- Transparent Incisors Edges
A lesser-known effect of enamel is transparency.
The edges of the incisors can become less opaque.
Hence, it appears as if you can see through these front teeth.
- Round Edges
You may notice dents on the chewing surfaces as well as the edges become softer.
Therefore, your teeth appear to be more round.
- Sharp Edges
The edges of your teeth become sharp and may also have cracks plus faults.
Therefore, consuming these foods is not healthy for your body as well as your teeth.
Since a few also contain essential vitamins and nutrients, you should not entirely give up on them but limit their intake.
Though, there are also a bunch of non-acidic foods that are also healthy to consume.
Non Acidic Foods and Beverages
Fruits such as papaya, bananas, mangoes, watermelon, honeydew melons and cantaloupes do not have a low pH value.
Not all seafood is acidic. Salmon, crab meat and shrimp are good to consume.
Moreover, rice, potato, cheese, bread and yams may contain fewer acids and even though they are starchy.
Similarly, black beans, soybeans, corn, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, tofu are all good for your health and do not contain acids.
Other foods that you can incorporate into your diet are those with low acids such as healthy fats in avocado, olive oil, nuts, yogurt, lentils and milk.
Most vegetables are also safe to consume.
When it comes to drinks, alcoholic and soft drinks definitely contain acids.
Though hot beverages like coffee and tea contain acidic content too.
Plus, they are not that healthy for your overall body and teeth.
Therefore, you can take green tea or water.
Water is the best beverage and is also good for your enamel.
It can keep the salivary flow going inside your mouth and it can deliver minerals to your teeth.
Hence, it aids in remineralizing your enamel so it is much more beneficial than taking acidic drinks.
Though, rather than switching your diet completely, you can incorporate some oral hygiene and dental care practices to avoid harm to your teeth.
Let’s discuss that additional information in detail below!
Oral Care to Prevent Erosion
It is essential to brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once.
However, you should not immediately brush after you have eaten or drank something acidic.
This will expose the acids in your mouth to the abrasives in toothpaste.
Hence, it will result in a worse combination.
Rather you should immediately rinse your mouth or drink water.
Then at least as your enamel settles and saliva clears the acid, you can proceed to brush after half an hour.
It is also important for you to brush with fluoride toothpaste regularly.
It helps deliver strength to your enamel by remineralizing it.
Moreover, you can make changes in the way you consume food and drinks.
If you still want to drink juices and soft drinks, then do so with a straw.
This will not let them get in contact with your teeth but will rather go down the throat.
Furthermore, you should avoid directly eating or sucking highly acidic fruits.
These include lime, lemon and oranges.
They can erode the enamel and soften it over time like nothing else.
If you cannot give up on them, then at least limit their intake. Rather switch to an alkaline diet.
Moreover, take cheese right after you eat them.
Cheese raises the pH levels and increases saliva inside your mouth.
Hence, it is important for you to take it after you have taken anything high in acid content.
Acidic foods aren’t great for your teeth.
Therefore, take them in moderation.
If you fear they have already caused your teeth harm, visit your dentist soon for timely treatment.