Diets with significant amounts of fruits and vegetables promote good oral health. However, some fruits – especially citrus fruits – are acidic, which can lead to enamel erosion and the spread of harmful bacteria when consumed in excess or not countered with oral health practices. Drinking juices, smoothies, and related fruit beverages can aggravate the condition further due to factors such as concentration and additives such as sugar. Patients whose diets are heavy with fruit juices will need to take precautions to maintain their oral health.
Timing Is Key
Patients may be tempted to brush their teeth immediately after consuming an acidic food or beverage. However, this can cause more harm than good; brushing when the mouth has a low pH level can damage or remove the enamel and expose roots and dentin. Drinking or rinsing with pH-neutral water after consuming something acidic is a better alternative. Brushing roughly 30 minutes after eating or drinking something acidic will give the patient’s mouth enough time to bring the mouth’s pH levels high enough to allow brushing without risking damage to enamel.
Modifying Oral Care Routines
Patients who consume high amounts of acidic food and drink will need to make adjustments to their oral care routines to compensate. Brushing with baking soda – or a toothpaste that includes baking soda – will counteract the acidity in the mouth. Alternately, toothpaste that contains casein, calcium, or phosphate can restore lost enamel and balance the pH level in the mouth. Patients should also discard or replace mouthwashes with alcohol or any mouthwash that causes a burning sensation in the mouth, as these will cause more harm than good in an acidic mouth.
Our team advises against any diet heavy in acidic food and drink. An acidic mouth damages teeth and gums both directly – by damaging enamel and irritating soft tissues – and indirectly – by lowering the mouth’s natural resistance to harmful bacteria. For patients that cannot or will not reduce their consumption of acidic consumables, our team can recommend a variety of practices and products to reduce or mitigate the damage. Contact our office today for a consultation.