Understanding the Effects of Erosion on Your Teeth and What to Eat and Drink

February 23, 2024

Erosion isn’t just a geological process; it’s a dental concern that can significantly impact your oral health. Often overshadowed by the spotlight on sugar, erosion caused by acidic foods and beverages poses serious threats to your teeth. Let’s delve into what erosion does to your teeth and how you can safeguard your smile.

The Perils of Tooth Erosion

When acidic substances come into contact with your teeth, they gradually wear down the protective enamel layer. This erosion compromises the structural integrity of your teeth, leading to various issues:


As enamel erodes, you may experience heightened sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks.


Teeth may take on a yellowish hue as enamel wears away, affecting the appearance of your smile.

Altered Dental Work

Fillings may seem different or irregular as erosion progresses, requiring potential replacement or adjustment. For more information and to get your fillings looked at, book with us today.

Increased Cavity Risk

With enamel weakened, your teeth become more susceptible to cavities and decay over time.

Potential Complications

Severe erosion can result in abscesses and, in extreme cases, tooth loss, significantly impacting oral health and quality of life.

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Identifying Acidic Culprits

Maintaining a healthy smile goes beyond brushing and flossing; it also involves being mindful of what we eat and drink. While we often focus on the harmful effects of sugary treats, acidic foods and beverages pose a significant threat to our dental health. Let’s explore some common culprits that contribute to dental erosion and learn how to protect our precious pearly whites.

Citrus Fruits and Juices

  • While citrus fruits like oranges and lemons are packed with vitamin C, they also contain high levels of citric acid, which can erode tooth enamel over time.
  • Opt for consuming citrus fruits as part of a meal rather than as standalone snacks to minimize their acidic impact on teeth.

Carbonated Drinks

  • Carbonated beverages, including sodas and sparkling waters, are acidic by nature due to carbonation and the presence of phosphoric and citric acids.
  • Limit consumption of these acidic drinks, and consider using a straw to minimize contact with teeth.

Sour Candies

  • Sour candies often contain high levels of citric acid and other acidic ingredients that can rapidly wear down enamel.
  • Enjoy these treats in moderation, and be sure to rinse your mouth with water afterward to help neutralize acids.

Pickles and Pickled Foods

  • Pickled foods like pickles, sauerkraut, and pickled vegetables are acidic in nature due to their vinegar content.
  • Consume pickled foods as part of a balanced meal, and rinse your mouth with water afterward to mitigate their acidic effects.

Tomatoes and Tomato-Based Products

  • Tomatoes and tomato-based products like ketchup and pasta sauce are acidic, which can contribute to enamel erosion.
  • Enjoy these foods in moderation, and consider consuming them alongside less acidic foods to minimize their impact on teeth.

Being aware of the acidic foods and beverages that contribute to dental erosion is the first step toward protecting our smiles. While it’s not necessary to eliminate these items entirely from our diets, moderation and mindful consumption can help minimize their harmful effects on our dental health. To learn more, contact us.

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Protecting Your Smile

Fortunately, there are also proactive steps you can take to safeguard your smile and minimize the detrimental effects of erosion. Let’s explore some practical strategies to protect your teeth and maintain optimal dental wellness.

Practice Good Oral Hygiene

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque and bacteria that contribute to erosion.
  • Don’t forget to floss daily to clean between teeth and along the gumline, where plaque can accumulate.

Use a Soft-Bristled Toothbrush

  • Opt for a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid excessive abrasion on enamel, especially if your enamel is already compromised by erosion.
  • Brush gently in circular motions to effectively clean teeth without causing damage.

Wait Before Brushing After Acidic Foods or Drinks

  • Acidic substances weaken tooth enamel temporarily. Wait at least 30 minutes to an hour after consuming acidic foods or beverages before brushing your teeth.
  • This allows saliva to naturally neutralize acids and remineralize enamel, reducing the risk of further erosion.

Limit Consumption of Acidic Foods and Beverages

  • Be mindful of your intake of acidic foods.
  • Consider reducing the frequency and quantity of acidic foods in your diet to minimize their impact on tooth enamel.

Use a Straw for Acidic Beverages

  • When indulging in acidic drinks like soda or fruit juice, use a straw to direct the liquid toward the back of your mouth, bypassing your teeth.
  • This helps reduce direct contact between acidic substances and tooth surfaces, mitigating erosion.

Rinse Your Mouth with Water

  • After consuming acidic foods or beverages, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water to help neutralize acids and wash away residual particles.
  • Drinking water throughout the day also promotes saliva production, which aids in protecting teeth against erosion.

Chew Sugarless Gum

  • Chewing sugarless gum stimulates saliva production, which helps neutralize acids and remineralize enamel.
  • Look for gum sweetened with Xylitol instead of regular sugar

Regular Dental Check-Ups

  • Schedule routine dental examinations and cleanings to monitor the condition of your teeth and address any signs of erosion promptly. Book your appointment here.
  • Your dentist can provide personalized recommendations and treatment options to mitigate the effects of erosion and preserve dental health.

Understanding the impact of erosion on your teeth is crucial for maintaining a healthy smile. By being mindful of acidic foods and beverages, adopting protective measures, and seeking professional guidance, you can safeguard your teeth against the erosive forces and enjoy lasting dental wellness.

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