Thanksgiving is right around in the corner! In preparation for the start of the holiday season, we’re sharing information on acid and alkaline content in many holiday foods and providing tips to keep your teeth healthy and strong.
Enamel is the protective armor of our teeth. Preventing damage to the underlying dentin and nerve layers, our enamel acts as a first line of defense from hazards including trauma, bacteria, habits like nail or pen biting, and acid erosion. Acid erosion is caused by frequent consumption of foods and drinks with a pH below 5.0-5.7. Although holidays are a time of eating, drinking, and general merriment, it is important to not overwhelm our teeth with an acidic challenge during these feasts. Aside from dental erosion, acidic foods can also trigger heartburn. Where’s the merriment when you are suffering from heartburn?!
High Acid Content: Fruit juices (especially orange and apple juice), sports drinks, wine, beer, carbonated sodas, dried fruit, beef, chicken, eggs, pork, shellfish, cheese, artificial sweeteners.
Moderate Acid Content: Ketchup, mayo, butter, apple, apricot, banana, blackberry, blueberry, cranberry, grapes, mango, orange, peach, papaya, pineapple, strawberry, brown rice, oats, rye bread, wheat, wild rice, ocean fish.
Mild Acid Content: Black beans, chickpeas/garbonzos, kidney beans, cantaloupe, fresh dates, nectarine, plum, sweet cherry, watermelon, soybeans, freshwater wild fish, rice and soy milk, brazil nuts, pecan nuts, hazel nuts.
Mild Alkaline Content: Artichokes, asparagus, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, carrot, chives, zucchini, leeks, new baby potatoes, peas, rhubarb, watercress, grapefruit, coconut, buckwheat, quinoa, lentils, tofu, goat and almond milk, most herbs and spices.
Moderate Alkaline Content: Avocado, pepper, cabbage, celery, collard/spring greens, endive, garlic, ginger, green beans, lettuce, mustard greens, okra, onion, radish, red onion, rocket/arugula, tomato, butter beans, soy beans.
High Alkaline Content: Himalayan salt, grasses, cucumber, kale, kelp, spinach, parsley, broccoli, sprouts (soy, alfalfa, etc.), sea vegetables (kelp), all sprouted beans.
Don’t worry! You can follow these rules to help prevent acid erosion:
- Don’t swish or swirl your acidic holiday beverage in your mouth.
- After consuming highly acidic foods or drinks, rinse thoroughly with water.
- If you can, bring a soft toothbrush and travel-size toothpaste to your feast so that you can brush 30 minutes after eating! You may even end up eating less at the party, also saving you from heartburn.
- If you cannot brush during the party, chew sugar-free gum to help dislodge food particles and produce saliva to naturally neutralize acids in your mouth.
- If you drink soda, use a straw to prevent direct contact of carbonated soda with your teeth.
- Remineralize your teeth with a fluoride mouthwash or paste.
- Acid erosion yellows, dulls, thins, and weakens teeth. When your protective enamel layer is slowly dissolved over time by a highly acidic diet, you may begin to notice visible changes. Once the underlying dentin layer is exposed, you may also notice sensitivity. Being proactive at reducing your acid-rich diet can save your armor and ultimately your beautiful, strong, pearly white smile!
Our team at McCauley Family and Cosmetic Dentistry wishes everyone a great start to the holiday season! Still looking for recipes for Thanksgiving? Check out our Facebook page as we’ll be sharing our favorite recipes between now and Thanksgiving.