Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits are known for their tangy, zesty taste and their high vitamin C content. They are a popular choice for a healthy and refreshing snack, especially during the hot summer months. But, you might have heard that citrus fruits are bad for your teeth. So, what’s the truth? Are citrus fruits really bad for your teeth?
In this article, we will explore the effects of citrus fruits on your teeth, and how you can enjoy these fruits while keeping your teeth healthy.
What Causes Dental Erosion?
To understand the effects of citrus fruits on your teeth, it’s important to know what causes dental erosion. Dental erosion is the loss of tooth enamel due to exposure to acidic substances. Enamel is the hard, protective outer layer of your teeth that shields them from damage. When enamel wears away, your teeth become more susceptible to cavities, sensitivity, and discoloration.
Acidic substances, including citrus fruits, can cause dental erosion. Other culprits include soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, fruit juices, and some wines. If you consume these acidic foods and drinks frequently and in large amounts, you are at a higher risk of dental erosion.
How Do Citrus Fruits Affect Your Teeth?
Citrus fruits are highly acidic, with a pH level of around 2-3, which is similar to vinegar. When you eat citrus fruits, the acid can soften and wear away your tooth enamel, especially if you consume them frequently or in large amounts.
However, the good news is that the acid in citrus fruits does not stay in your mouth for long. Saliva can neutralise the acid and help your mouth return to a more neutral pH level. If you rinse your mouth with water after eating citrus fruits, you can also help remove any leftover acid and prevent it from sticking to your teeth.
How to Enjoy Citrus Fruits Without Harming Your Teeth
It’s important to note that you don’t have to avoid citrus fruits altogether to protect your teeth. Citrus fruits have many health benefits, including their high vitamin C content, which is essential for your immune system and skin health. Instead, you can take some simple steps to enjoy citrus fruits without harming your teeth:
Eat Citrus Fruits with Other Foods
When you eat citrus fruits as part of a meal, the other foods can help neutralise the acid and protect your teeth. For example, you can have a fruit salad that includes citrus fruits along with low-acid fruits like bananas, strawberries, and grapes. You can also add citrus fruits to your green salad, along with other veggies and a low-acid dressing.
Drink Citrus Fruits in Moderation
Drinking citrus juices or beverages frequently and in large amounts can increase the risk of dental erosion. Instead, you can limit your intake to a small glass (4-6 ounces) of citrus juice per day, and drink it in one sitting rather than sipping it throughout the day.
Use a Straw
When you drink citrus juices or beverages, using a straw can help minimise the contact of the acid with your teeth. This way, the acid bypasses your teeth and goes straight to the back of your throat.
Rinse Your Mouth with Water
After eating citrus fruits or drinking citrus juices, rinse your mouth with water to help remove any leftover acid. You can also chew sugarless gum to increase saliva flow, which can help neutralise the acid and wash it away from your teeth.
What Do Dentists Say?
It’s always a good idea to talk to your dentist about your diet and its effects on your teeth. Your dentist can help you understand your risk of dental erosion and recommend ways to protect your teeth. They may also recommend fluoride treatments or sealants to strengthen and protect your teeth from acid and decay.
In addition, regular dental check-ups and cleanings are essential for maintaining good oral health. Your dentist can detect and treat dental erosion and other dental problems before they become more serious.
Citrus fruits are not inherently bad for your teeth, but they can contribute to dental erosion if consumed frequently and in large amounts. By taking simple steps to enjoy citrus fruits, such as eating them with other foods, drinking them in moderation, using a straw, and rinsing your mouth with water, you can still reap the health benefits of these fruits while protecting your teeth.
Remember, maintaining good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist Narre Warren regularly are essential for keeping your teeth and gums healthy. If you have any concerns about your oral health or diet, don’t hesitate to talk to your dentist.