Fruit drinks, smoothies, and juices can damage, dissolve, and rot your teeth, say new studies. Dentists are warning patients about the most popular fruit drinks and smoothies that act on the teeth to dissolve the enamel just as vinegar dissolves calcium in a water distiller. A combination of high acid and sugar can destroy children’s teeth. So can grain-based cereals left on teeth and washed down with fruit juices and hot cocoa sweetened with sugar, as in many children’s breakfast meals or snacks followed by kids not brushing their teeth.
Parents frequently give children fruit juices thinking it’s one way to get their vitamin C, but most fruit juices act like vinegar to dissolve the teeth with high acidity. It’s the high acid levels that erode the teeth, dissolving the enamel and leaching away the calcium and other minerals. Fruit juice in a concentrated form can be used to remove mineral stains on toilets and sinks, and works the same way on teeth to remove the minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and any trace minerals the teeth need, making the teeth brittle and sometimes discolored.
Dental problems even show up in hospitals admissions of children. For example, drinking a mixture of lemon, lime and water can contain a pH level of a whopping acidic 2.7, which is more acidic on vinegar. And vinegar often is used to clean the mineral stains off of water distillers where calcium deposits are located. Also see the article, “We still don’t know how to brush our teeth despite years of advice, reveals study.”
It works the same way on the tooth enamel and the calcium and other minerals in the teeth. The 2.7 acidity measure is very high, since 7 is neutral. What’s important to know is that when the acid level of any beverage is higher than 5.5, tooth enamel starts to break down. The 5.5 acid level destroys tooth enamel. And drinking fruit juices with lemon and lime juice is an acidic 2.7. The lower the number the more acidic the liquid. Above 7 becomes more alkaline, the opposite of acidic.
Drinks tested in one study also showed high acid levels
One of the studies done in Britain at the Royal College of Surgeons tested other drinks such as Tropicana orange juice, Copella apple juice, and Innocent smoothies. The result noted that “all had acid levels ranging between 3.3 and 3.8. The most acidic was Coca-Cola, with a pH level of 2.5.” according to the May 20, 2012 Mail Online (Health) article by Chris Hanlon, “Fruit drinks ‘can be as acidic as vinegar’ and rot away teeth enamel, dentists say.”
Instead of drinking the acidic fruit juice, eat whole fruit with meals. Or eat cheese or other alkaline foods with the fruit. For example, a tablespoon of yogurt on top of sliced fruit will dull the impact of the acidic fruit on the teeth. Whole fruit is better than fruit juice. You can serve the fruit with a creamy substance such as yogurt, cheese, or a non-dairy substitute such as tofu or tempeh, or even carrot juice with or without a spoon of unsweetened cocoa powder mixed into the carrot juice, or almond milk and any other non-dairy milk substitute also can dilute the acidity of tart fruits.
The healthier way to eat fruits
One study revealed that 50 percent of five-year olds studied in Britain show damage to their tooth enamel caused by eating acidic foods or drinking acidic fruit juice. On the other hand, cranberries (whole) are good for the gums. If you look at a container of fruit juice, you won’t see the acid levels on the label.
If you’re eating a lot of vegetables and fruit, be sure the fruit part isn’t left in your mouth if the fruit is acidic or has high acid levels. To help your teeth, eat all that fruit and vegetables with other foods at mealtime. Don’t drink fruit juice alone. Carrot juice isn’t acidic. Instead of juicing oranges at breakfast time, eat the entire orange with a banana or drink carrot juice as you eat the orange.
Wash that fruit juice acid out of your mouth immediately
Another way to combat acid erosion is to drink water after eating fruit or fruit juice to get rid of the acid. Or rinse your mouth with water immediately after drinking the fruit juice. Watch those vinegar, lemon juice, and lime salad dressings. Fruit has natural acidity that attacks the teeth even though the micronutrients are good for the body’s health in general. But fruit juice is the sugary water with the fiber removed and also leaves out a lot of the phytonutrients in the whole fruit.
If you’re eating a whole orange, eat it with a banana or cheese. The cheese neutralizes some of the acid in citrus or other acidic fruit. After eating fruit, drink water. But don’t brush teeth right away after eating acid. Wait at least an hour.
Use water to wash the teeth. Teeth become weak after exposure to acid in acidic fruit. So you don’t want to brush when teeth are weak. Just rinse with water. Then at least an hour later, you can brush the teeth. And keep in mind the sugar content of fruit juice also rots the teeth, especially in children. Rinse your teeth with water after eating fruit, but don’t brush right away.
The acid in the fruit or fruit juice weakens the teeth. You don’t want to brush teeth when they’re weak. After an hour or more, if you’ve rinsed off the acid with water, your teeth are ready to be brushed in the usual way, or wiped with a gauze pad and toothpaste.
Worst foods for rotting your teeth
The worst foods for decaying teeth the quickest are lemon juice and chewable vitamin C that tastes like candy. It’s the ascorbic acid in the vitamin C. If you eat lemons, don’t keep sucking on them.
Rinse your mouth quickly after you’ve eaten a lemon or a slice of lemon pie or mix the lemon with your salad dressing and food. Instead of chewing your supplements containing ascorbic acid such as certain forms of vitamin C, put them in a shake and emulsify them if you can’t swallow the tablets or capsules.
Lemon juice can destroy your tooth enamel. So can citrus fruit juices. See the medical journal article, “Lemon Juice May Destroy Tooth Substance: AJN The American Journal.” Don’t suck on lemons to bleach teeth. Instead, you’ll destroy the enamel, and your teeth will look even more yellow as the underlying dentin shows through which has a yellow color. Energy drinks also destroy tooth enamel.
Lemon, citric acid, and taking or chewing vitamin C containing ascorbic acid or citric acid also destroys tooth enamel. So rinse your mouth thoroughly after putting ascorbic acid or citric acid in your mouth or taking a vitamin C tablet, powder, or capsule that dissolves in your mouth. You can get vitamin C from lemons, but mix the lemon juice with other foods such as Vegenaise®, a vegetarian mayonnaise or olive oil and then rinse your mouth or wipe/brush your teeth.
Don’t use lemon juice directly as a mouthwash. See, What can help make my teeth whiter quickly using natural remedies? Also check out, Ask Dr. Ellie: Lemon Water.
Some of the worst foods for your teeth are lemon, sugar, black currents, energy drinks, wine, starchy foods, and dried fruit due to the acid and sugar contents of these foods. Wine and energy drinks contain enzymes that destroy the enamel of your teeth. Also, the use of some types of prescription drugs dry out the oral mucosa, which reduces protection against decay from the saliva.
Don’t Feed Kids Sugary Drinks or Fruit Juice
Children need clean water, not fruit juice and sugary drinks to addict them to sweet tastes and bubbly sodas. Use water in a sippy cup. Let kids eat the whole fruit, not the juice which is mostly sugary/fructose water which can rot their teeth as well as cereal grains left on their teeth. Sugar coats kid’s teeth and rots the teeth overnight. Before bedtime, give them water.
Lack of enough vitamin D in the diet may cause tooth decay and hair loss. See the article, “Vitamin D Deficiency, Hair Loss & Tooth Decay.” Tooth decay also may be a symptom of vitamin D and other types of food deficiencies as reported by the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service.
U.C. Davis studies how Vitamin D contributes to many metabolic functions in the body, deficiencies could include dental issues, heart problems and mental diseases. Overdosing on vitamin D builds up in the body. Your goal is to find the right dose for you, either from foods or other sources, depending upon what your body needs and any genetic mutations you may have that affect how vitamin D works in your body, whether it helps or calcifies your aorta. Find out first how the vitamin affects your particular system. Use care and consult your doctor before adding nutrients to your diet, according to the article, “Vitamin D Deficiency, Hair Loss & Tooth Decay.”
Worst Foods That May Lead To Tooth Decay and Gum Disease
Starchy foods turn to sugar. These include white bread, potato chips and French fries and al dente pasta. These starchy fillers lodge between teeth and in crevices. They don’t taste sweet, but they turn to sugar quickly. The bacteria move in as well as the pre-digestive process that begins in the mouth through the enzymes in saliva. Stay away from these foods. Teeth also decay from the inside out based on diet.
Dried fruits like prunes, nectarines, and apricots, are similar to caramels. Already sweet when fresh, their sugars are highly concentrated as the water is dried away. The gummy texture of dried fruit clings to teeth like sticky candy.
Dried fruit often is packed with non-soluble cellulose fiber, which can bind and trap sugars on and around the tooth, making it worse than candy. In the past raisins were included because they stick to the back teeth and get just under the gum line. But lately studies have shown raisins aren’t that bad for the teeth. Just rinse or brush after chewing them. Raisins do have compounds in them that help to fight tooth decay. See, Raisins are good for your teeth | HealthandAge – Medical Articles.
The phytonutrients and olenolic acid present in raisins helps to make them beneficial for the health of your teeth and gums. Raisins used to have a bad reputation for sticking to teeth, but in recent times have been retrieved as not so bad. But please, rinse and brush after eating raisins. Or if you have no brush handy, use one of those quick wipes of packaged, sterile gauze pads coated with tooth paste to wipe off the raisins from your teeth.
Why energy drinks can destroy tooth enamel
Energy drinks can destroy your tooth enamel. See the article, “Top Beverages to Destroy Teeth – extended version.” Carbonated soft drinks can rot your teeth. These drinks are the leading source of added sugar among kids and teens. Besides being laden with sugar, most soft drinks contain phosphoric and citric acids that erode tooth enamel.
Also see the site, Six Foods That Weaken Bones. Sports drinks, energy drinks, and highly sugared teas and lemonades decay teeth. It’s the phosphoric and citric acids that mix with the high sugar levels in these drinks that promote tooth decay.
Which prescription medicines are more likely to weaken your teeth?
Prescription medications such as antidepressants, beta blockers, and ibuprofen are culprits. Frequent bleaching weakens the protection of the teeth. The more you bleach teeth, the more your tooth enamel becomes thinner. Sometimes certain cleaning procedures also remove plaque along with enamel. And certain toothpastes are abrasive and should be used with caution. If you use baking soda, dilute it with water.
The alkaline from baking soda is abrasive for removing tooth enamel. So dilute it with lots of water when you rinse rather than scrub your teeth with baking soda to help your gums. COQ10 helps the gums more than scratching and scrubbing with salt or baking soda. Rinsing with baking soda such as in a water Waterpik® or similar device is fine. Check out the article, “Exposure To Alkaline Substances Can Result In Damaged Teeth.”
Alkaline substances can damage tooth enamel
Don’t brush with baking soda. Also see the Dec. 2009 article, “Exposure to Alkaline Substances Could Damage Tooth Enamel” at the “Your Dentist Guide” news site. According to that article, “The detrimental effects of acid exposure to tooth enamel has long been accepted, but a recent study from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, also has shown that exposure to powerful alkaline substances can be just as damaging to tooth enamel. Alkaline substances that contain high pH levels destroy parts of the tooth’s organic content, causing the enamel to be more susceptible to caries.”
Researchers also warn people about alkaline products like baking soda actually harming the teeth even as it gets rid of acid in the mouth when rinsing with baking soda and water as a mouthwash. “Exposure to the vapors from alkaline degreasers – which are found most commonly in the food and car care industries – can result in injured teeth, the study found.
After extracted teeth were exposed to degreasers and other alkaline solutions, the enamel samples were studied and analyzed with a scanning electron microscope. The researchers found that the organic surface of the teeth – which is composed of protein, lipids and citrate – dissolved quickly. However, the main mineral component of enamel appeared to remain unchanged.”
Soft drinks and tea with lemon can damage tooth enamel
Soft drinks such as sugary sodas and even tea with lemon also help to destroy teeth. See the Feb. 2007 article, Update: Top Beverges to Destroy Teeth and the March 15, 2011 article, Tea with Lemon and Drugs Destroy The Tooth Enamel. Drinking tea with fruit and berry supplements may destroy tooth enamel.
In addition to foods and beverages, bruxism, grinding or clenching teeth when anxious or in your sleep also can destroy tooth enamel at a fast rate as chemical processes erode the teeth. Lemon juice is most potent for eroding teeth quickly, destroying the enamel. Other acids such as vinegar also work in a similar fashion. If you drink lemonade or vinegar, rinse your mouth quickly with water. See the article, “Could lemon juice be bad for the health of my teeth? | Teeth Care Blog .”
Sticky foods like taffy, gummy candies, and caramel cling to your teeth, providing the fuel that harmful bacteria need to multiply. At night, because you don’t swallow as much while you sleep, the bacteria in your mouth can easily multiply.
Avoiding sticky foods will help keep their numbers down and protect your teeth. If you do indulge yourself in a sweet and sticky treat, be sure to brush and floss soon afterward. Also, watch out for foods, like popcorn kernels or hard candies, that can break a tooth if you bite down too hard on them.
See the site, What can help make my teeth whiter quickly using natural remedies? Also see the articles, Lemon Juice May Destroy Tooth Substance, and Lemon Juice Adds a Sour Note to Your Dental Health – 1-800-DENTIST®. Lemon juice is so high in acid content it causes enamel erosion on your teeth. As the enamel is destroyed, the underlying dentin is exposed. Even though baking soda can damage teeth with its high alkaline content, rinsing with baking soda sometimes helps to whiten teeth if not used all the time.
Bleaching sometimes makes your teeth look yellow as you age. Don’t bother bleaching your teeth as you grow older because yellow teeth in older people is due to the enamel wearing away, exposing the dentin below, which is yellowish in color.
How Candy Destroys Your Teeth
Cough drops, sugary candies and sweets stick in your mouth. You could eat unsweetened chocolate or make your own desserts using unsweetened cocoa powder and coconut milk instead of sugar. Forget the lollipops and caramels with refined sugar. If foods stick to your teeth such as blueberries, rinse your mouth or brush. Or swish some baking soda and water in your mouth. Another alternative is to swish olive oil, coconut oil, or sesame seed oil in your mouth as a mouthwash.
Sugary beverages and candy also work from the inside out unbalancing the calcium to phosphorus ratio in your body and in your blood at the cellular level. So even if you eat sugar and brush, it may not help since teeth rot from the inside out when too much phosphorus from eating candy or sugary foods unbalances that delicate calcium to phosphorus ratio of your body’s chemistry.
Chocolate isn’t bad for your teeth because the sugars in chocolate are coated with fat, such as cocoa butter. The sugar slips out of your mouth. Chocolate washes out of your mouth a little faster than gummy bears or dried fruit or citrus fruits.
In a contest, chocolate won’t cause cavities as fast as raisins because raisins or any other dried fruit such as dates or apricots and nectarines are sticky when chewed. They stick to the back of your teeth at the gum line, especially in the upper back part of your jaw. The longer sugar hangs around in your mouth, from dried fruit, the longer it takes for the sugars to get broken down.
Starchy Foods Can Rot Your Teeth
Starchy foods that can get stuck in your mouth: Starches, which are complex carbohydrates, can also linger in your mouth. Examples: Bread or potato chip bits trapped between your teeth. Bread often ends up in your back teeth and sometimes slightly under the gum line. If you get bread stuck in your mouth or at the back of your teeth, bacteria love to feed on carbs such as sugar, certain fruits, and flour.
Medicines and Foods That Dry Your Mouth Can Decay Your Teeth
Items that dry out your mouth, including alcohol and many medicines: Be sure your mouth is plaque free, advises Dr. Price, and also drink plenty of water. If medications are the cause, consider talking to your doctor about getting a fluoride rinse, or a fluoride gel with which to brush your teeth.
How to eat for a healthy mouth:
The American Dental Association offers these tips to help reduce tooth-decay risk from the foods you eat:
Consume sugary foods with meals: Saliva production increases during meals, which helps neutralize acid production and rinse food particles from the mouth.
Limit between-meal snacks: If you crave a snack, choose nutritious foods and consider chewing sugarless gum afterward to increase saliva flow and wash out food and acid. Each time you eat food that contains sugars or starches, acids attack your teeth for 20 minutes or more.
When sugars or starches in your mouth come in contact with plaque, the acids that result can attack teeth for 20 minutes or more after you finish eating. Repeated attacks can break down the hard enamel on the surface of teeth, leading to tooth decay. Plaque also produces toxins that attack the gums and bone supporting the teeth. See the article, “7 Things Your Teeth Say About Your Health.”
Foods That Combat Tooth Decay, Plaque Buildup, and Enamel Erosion
Although some foods invite tooth decay, others help combat plaque buildup. Here are some foods to seek out and some to avoid. Eat high fiber vegetables and fruits. Raspberries have high fiber as do vegetables that are not very starchy. See the article, The Best and Worst Foods for Your Teeth. The article there also originally appeared on Caring.com.
First, you want to eat foods that neutralize acid and at the same time provide minerals and vitamins that specifically work to repair and remineralize tooth enamel. You want to eat foods that stimulate more, but not too much saliva. You don’t want to eat foods that leave acid in your mouth.
High-Fiber Vegetables, Not Starchy Fillers are good for your teeth
Vegetables are good for your teeth because they actually clean or ‘scrub’ your teeth without scrubbing off the enamel like an abrasive toothpaste would such as brushing with salt. So chew longer vegetables with high amounts of fiber.
Saliva defends your teeth against decay as the saliva neutralizes tooth-damaging acids, and contains calcium and phosphates that help rebuild minerals leached away by bacterial acids. Crunchy, juicy fruits and vegetables also have high water content that helps offset their sugar content.
High-fiber foods are also a key foundation of an overall healthy diet, so they offer a double benefit. But you don’t want to chew popcorn kernels because that’s so crunchy, it will break your teeth or form tiny, fine cracks.
Don’t chew ice because you’ll fracture your teeth with those fine, tiny cracks that are hard to see, but let in the bacteria. Then the bacteria works its way down to your roots and jaw bone, and you end up losing your teeth. So don’t chew on bottle caps, popcorn kernels, ice, or frozen chocolate chips that can snap off a tooth. Hard, crusty bread also sometimes breaks teeth, especially in people who are older or have weak or comparatively soft teeth.
Drink enough water. It will help make more saliva which is important to tooth and gum health. Fluoride doesn’t necessarily make your enamel harder. It may make it more brittle.
People with the strongest teeth sometimes live in isolated areas where they have few cavities, but good diets. Sometimes people are over-treated and the teeth are traumatized by too much scrubbing and scratching. Find a dentist who knows about holistic, minimally-invasive dentistry if all you need is a cleaning every few months.
Organic Grass-Fed Cheeses Raw, Aged More Than 180 Days are good for your teeth
Some types of cheeses help stimulate saliva. If you don’t eat dairy, look into multiple minerals in liquid form that are easily absorbed. Too much calcium can also come out as tartar and plaque, particularly on your lower front teeth at the gum line.
Some calcium helps replace minerals leached from the teeth, but you also need magnesium and other minerals in balance as well, not excess calcium. Other dairy products, such as milk, yogurt and similar products also provide calcium and phosphates.
Eat foods that help your body use the calcium you get from various foods. Broccoli and carrots also contain calcium. People who don’t eat dairy and use coconut milk for example, don’t have deficiencies of calcium because they get calcium and magnesium along with other minerals from various vegetables, sea vegetables, and seafood.
Xylitol, Maybe, in Tiny Amounts in Gum or Toothpaste
Sometimes Xylitol is added to toothpaste and sugarless gums. The sugarless gums stimulate saliva to scrub the teeth. Xylitol helps to get rid of some bacteria on the teeth by working against mutans streptococci, the bacteria that causes tooth decay.
Xylitol is available as a general sweetener at health stores. But don’t use more than a tiny amount. Try to use more natural foods such as foods high in fiber or drink green tea without sweeteners and without lemon or fruit juices.
Decaf Green Tea with a Tablespoon of Unsweetened, Not Alkalized Coca Powder
Green and black teas contain compounds called polyphenols that interact with the bacteria that causes plaque. These polyphenols either kill or suppress bacteria, preventing them from growing or producing tooth-attacking acid. The polyphenols in coffee also have cavity-fighting properties.
Use unsweetened hot cocoa, about a tablespoon in a cup of decaf green tea. You don’t need any sweetener. You can add a little almond milk instead to your hot cocoa made with decaf green tea.
Studies have also shown cocoa to have strong anti-mutans streptococci properties. Instead of eating a bar of candy or chocolate, sip a cup of decaf green tea with added unsweetened cocoa powder. Don’t by cocoa powder that has been alkalized or ‘Dutched.’
Grind Your Nuts And Eat Them on Your Blue Berries and Almond or Coconut Milk
Almonds, walnuts, pistachio nuts, and cashews. Various nuts provide vitamins and minerals that help your teeth. Almonds have high levels of calcium that helps both teeth and gums. Cashews help to stimulate saliva and also help to clean teeth. Walnuts are high in fiber, folic acid, iron, thiamine, magnesium, iron, niacin, vitamin E, vitamin B6, potassium and zinc.
These help balance your minerals with nuts. Stay away from peanuts as they contain too much Omega 6 fatty acids. Almonds, walnuts, pistachio nuts, and cashews are better if you want to eat various tree nuts.
People with weak teeth or traumatized teeth, delicate crowns or bridges and older people who are told not to chew on hard foods need to grind the nuts and sprinkle them over a bowl of blueberries and almond milk or other foods.
Foods That Contain the Four Fat-Soluble Vitamins: A, D, E, and K, Minerals, and vitamin C are good for your teeth if you don’t chew supplements directly
Take your multiple minerals with silica. Liquid form is great. Eat foods that contain the four fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E, and K along with vitamin C. Take minerals that contain a balanced amount of calcium and phosphorus. Some forms of ionic minerals in the liquid form may be of help. Look into these minerals and read the reviews and studies.
People who eat more seafood have better teeth, according to several studies. Eat a healthy diet that includes seafood, eggs, green vegetables, beans, and other foods that can be substituted for these foods such as sea vegetables for some seafood. If you can eat whole grains, fine, but if whole grains rot your teeth, stay off the grains for a time.
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