Did you know that acidic foods can be harmful to your dental health? You can take positive steps to help limit the damage caused by acid with alkaline options. What exactly does alkaline mean, and why are these foods an attractive option for your dental health? We've got the answers to your top questions and some easy-to-follow recommendations.
How High-Alkaline Foods Benefit Your Teeth
Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications
What Are High-Alkaline Foods?
Alkaline can be thought of as the opposite of acidic. On the pH scale, which goes from 0 to 14, the middle of the scale at seven is considered neutral. Zero is the most acidic, and 14 is the most alkaline or basic.
- Acidic: pH of 0 to 6.9
- Neutral: pH of 7
- Alkaline: pH of 7.1 to 14
What does that mean for you? The more acidic the food, the more corrosive they are to your teeth, so very acidic items should be avoided or consumed in moderation.
High-Alkaline Foods Are Good for Your Teeth
Many of us have heard the myth that soft teeth cause cavities and other dental problems. Your diet and oral hygiene actually play a larger role in your dental health than your teeth's inherited softness. This is because what you eat and drink can significantly impact your mouth's bacteria and saliva production.
Acidic foods and drinks can wear down the enamel that protects your teeth. It's vital to protect your enamel because it does not contain living cells and does not naturally restore over time. According to the American Dental Association, erosion of this hard outer layer can lead to several dental problems.
Tooth erosion from acidic foods and drinks can lead to:
- Increased risk to develop cavities
- Temperature sensitivity in your teeth, making it hard to consume hot and cold items
- Yellowish discoloration of the teeth by exposing the dentin below your enamel
- Tooth loss or abscesses in extreme cases
The acidity of your diet can help control the bacterial environment of your mouth. This means that you can help protect against an acidic diet's adverse effects with alkaline food and drinks.
Easy High-Alkaline Foods and Drinks
It's important to remember that many foods that become alkaline after digestion may still be acidic to your teeth. Alkaline foods tend to be items that are beneficial to your health, even beyond your dental hygiene.
Easy choices that help neutralize acids in your mouth:
- Fresh vegetables
- Fresh fruits
- Seeds and nuts
- Oils and fats
- Lentils, quinoa, and beans
- Alkaline water
These options can be cooked into various delicious meals, making it easy for you to make healthy choices for your teeth.
More Choices to Protect Your Teeth From Acids
High-alkaline foods are just one part of a diet and routine that promotes good dental health.
Other foods that are good for your smile:
- Vegetables and fruits that are rich in fiber can help protect your teeth and gums
- Dairy products stimulate saliva production that naturally repair your enamel
- Foods and drink with fluoride help protect your teeth, including most tap water
- Green and black tea fight the bacteria that can produce acid or harm your teeth
Your routine and habits are also essential to your overall dental health and can prevent some of the adverse effects of acidic food and drinks.
Easy tips to reduce tooth decay:
- If you eat acidic foods or drinks, have them with a meal to minimize the damage
- Use a straw to limit decay to your teeth
- Drink more water or rinse with water after consuming acidic snacks
- Chewing sugar-free gum can stimulate the production of saliva
- Brush your teeth for two minutes twice daily and floss once daily
Alkaline foods and drinks can be useful in combating damage done by acidic choices. Still, it's vital to pay attention to other aspects of your diet and routine to protect your teeth best. You're set up for success after reading up on what alkaline foods are and how they protect your smile.
Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider.