When and how often you consume acidic foods or beverages affects dental health, says a new report, suggesting six ways to minimize the risk of damage.
Besides sugar, acids found in diet and regular soda, energy drinks, juice and wine can erode tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay.
Now, the February issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter has suggested ways to cut the risk of damage from acidic foods and drinks.
1. Limiting consumption: There should be a limited consumption of soda, wine, energy drinks and juice, high-acid foods including tart candies, citrus fruits and foods containing vinegar.
2. Timing consumption: Having acidic foods as part of a meal helps neutralize and eliminate acids. Eating acidic foods before bedtime is the worst time to consume, because production of saliva decreases during sleep. Saliva helps neutralize and dilute acids.
3. Drinking right: To drink soda or juice, a straw should be used as it helps minimize contact with the teeth. Also, drinking quickly and not sipping over long periods helps reduce the effects of acid on tooth enamel.
4. Neutralizing: After having acidic food or drink, eating cheese or swishing with water or a fluoride rinse helps neutralize the acid.
5. Timing your brushing: Before consuming acidic foods or drink, brushing teeth with fluoride toothpaste 30 minutes is most beneficial. Brushing immediately afterward should be avoided.
6. Chewing sugar-free gum: Having a sugar-free chewing gum can help stimulate saliva flow, which neutralizes and dilutes acid.