Our modern diet has many dangers for your teeth. The high carbohydrate content in many foods feeds oral bacteria that then produce an acidic excretion that attacks your tooth enamel, leading to cavities that need fillings or worse. However, many foods are acidic on their own, and should be consumed with caution.

How Acidic Is Too Acidic?

Acidity is measured using the pH scale, which indicates the concentration of free H+ ions in them. These free ions are what attack and can break down your tooth enamel. The lower the pH, the more of them they are. It’s a logarithmic scale, so every number you go down represents a tenfold increase in pH. At a pH of 4 or less, we start to see tooth enamel break down, so those are the foods you want to be aware of.

Not All Citrus Is Created Equal

citrus-fruitsConsuming citrus fruit is good for you because it contains vitamin C and other nutrients. However, they can also be very acidic. The good news is that they’re not all equally acidic.

For example, oranges can have a pH of about 3.7-4.3, so either mildly damaging or relatively safe for your teeth. Marmalade, though, is lower, about 3.0-3.3, so spread it thin.

On the other hand, grapefruits are a little stronger, ranging from 3.0-3.8 and lemons and limes are much stronger: their pH could be as low as 2.

If You Like It Hot

It’s worth noting that many chili sauces have vinegar included, as well as other acids that help prevent the growth of bacteria. Sometimes these sauces can be very low on the pH scale, a 2.8, more acidic than a grapefruit. If you’re eating food with a lot of vinegar-filled hotsauce, this could be damaging your teeth.

Grapes not so Great for Your Teeth

Grapes can be quite acidic, with Concord, Niagara, and Seedless grapes all having pH below 3.0. It’s worth noting that this acidity is actually further intensified in jams and wines.

Not Berry Nice

Many types of berries have a naturally low pH. These include raspberries, cranberries, gooseberries, and loganberries. The pH also intensifies when juiced or made into jam. While we’re on the subject, pomegranates also have a pH below 3, as do many types of plums.

Drink It Up

Many drinks have a low pH, as well. We’ve noted some juices that have low pH, but don’t forget that soda has a low pH, ranging from 2-3, with colas being at the lower end.

Wine has the lowest pH of alcoholic drinks, sometimes below 3. Although hard liquors have a higher pH, if you start mixing them with sodas and fruit juices, you end up with a damaging pH as well.

For a tooth-healthy relaxer, stick to a good lager, with a pH around 4. Lighter beers also stain the teeth less.

If You Eat Acidic Foods

You don’t have to completely give up on these foods, but you should be aware of them. Cut down on consuming them, and when you do, chase with a cup of water. Don’t brush your teeth right after eating these foods.

And, of course, remember to make your dentist appointments. If it has been too long since your last cleaning, please contact My Hills Dentist in Baulkham Hills.