Everyone knows that sugar is bad for your teeth, but acidic foods can cause just as many problems. This is because the acid in food and drinks, such as orange juice, temporarily softens the enamel (which is the outside layer of your teeth).
After you eat, it can take half an hour for the acids in your mouth to neutralize and the enamel to go back to normal. So if you are constantly eating throughout the day, your mouth never has a chance to recover and you will be more susceptible to acid wear and tooth decay. Some foods and drinks are worse for your teeth than others as they have a low pH, meaning that they are very acidic.
Which Foods And Drinks Are Acidic?
By reducing the amount of acidic food and increasing the number of alkaline foods you eat, you can reduce your chances of developing tooth decay (caries). Below is a list of common foods and drinks and how acidic or alkaline they are.
|Best for teeth||Neutral||Worst for teeth|
|Baking soda||Moderately alkaline|
|Brussel sprouts||Highly alkaline|
|Butter (salted)||Slightly acidic|
|Cheese (hard)||Highly acidic|
|Cheese (soft)||Slightly acidic|
|Flour (white)||Highly acidic|
|Ice cream||Highly acidic|
|Lemon juice||Highly acidic|
|Milk (soy)||Slightly alkaline|
|Orange juice||Highly acidic|
|Pinto beans||Moderately acidic|
|Potato (without skin)||Moderately acidic|
|Potato skins||Highly alkaline|
|Pumpkin seeds||Slightly acidic|
|Rice (brown)||Slightly acidic|
|Rice (white)||Moderately acidic|
|Soft drink||Highly acidic|
|Spinach (cooked)||Slightly acidic|
|Spinach (uncooked)||Highly alkaline|
|Sugar (brown)||Moderately acidic|
|Sugar (white)||Moderately acidic|
|Sweet potato||Moderately acidic|
|Tea (green)||Moderately alkaline|
|Tomatoes (cooked)||Moderately acidic|
|Tomatoes (uncooked)||Slightly alkaline|
|Tomato ketchup||Moderately acidic|
|Water (bottle)||Slightly acidic|
That’s not to say you should avoid acidic food altogether, in fact, many of these foods are very good for your health and should be eaten regularly. The trick is to know how to eat these foods without causing damage to your teeth. The opposite of acidic is alkaline, so if you eat something which is acidic you should eat something which is alkaline after it to neutralize the acid levels in your mouth. For example, something high in acidity like chocolate should be followed with a cup of green tea which is alkaline.