How do we get acids in the mouth?
One of the strongest tissues of the body, tooth enamel is worn down by acids in the mouth. These areas start small, and appear as pitting – this is how decay starts. Acids are produced normally as bacteria in the mouth feed on left-over food debris. And acids can be delivered directly in the low pH foods and drinks we choose.
The pH of foods
Foods with low pH are considered acidic. They include: grapefruits, lemons, tomatoes and tomato products, wine, coffee and pickled foods (due to the vinegar content). Beware of sweets that are chewy AND sour: their sourness comes from acidic flavours and high sugar content makes them sticky. They provide a feast for our oral bacteria!
Sodas and carbonated drinks, as well as many ‘healthy’ sports drinks are acidic and heavily sweetened.
Foods with a high pH are not acidic, and may even play a protective role when it comes to tooth decay. These foods include: avocados, bananas, broccoli, cheese, eggs, lean meat, nuts, oatmeal and whole grains, vegetables. See table below for more.
Should I avoid low pH foods?
It is not that these are ‘bad’ foods that should be avoided. In fact if you eat acidic foods with foods that have a high pH, the effect of the acid can be neutralised, for example: pasta with tomato-based sauce, cheese with pickles or wine. Another recommendation is to drink plenty of water to help rinse acids, and other food debris, away.
|Crackers, pasta, brown rice, wild rice, grainy bread||Carbohydrates||White rice, white bread|
|Yogurt based, soy||Dressings||Salad dressings, vinegar|
|Milk, spring water, soda water, tap water, herbal tea||Drinks||Soft drinks (including sports and diet drinks), wine, fruit drinks, cordial, tea, coffee|
|Melons, pawpaw, mangos, bananas||Fruit||Apples, raspberries, plums, cherries, oranges, peaches, pears, pineapple, tomatoes, lemons|
|Meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy foods, goat, soy||Protein & Dairy||Parmesan cheese, processed cheese|
|Honey, raw sugar||Sweeteners||Artificial sweeteners|
|Vegetables, soups||Vegetables||Pickled vegetables|