Here are the “worst of the worst” foods and drinks for food sensitivity:
- Soft drinks (including alcohol and sugar-free, artificially sweetened drinks). The biggest culprit of them all. When you drink them, you effectively bathe your teeth in a highly acidic sweet and sticky liquid. The acid content erodes your teeth, and it can penetrate quickly through to exposed nerves. The sticky residue it leaves behind is perfect for bacterial plaque formation. Avoid at all costs, or use a straw at the very least!
- Hot sweetened coffee. Coffee is highly acidic on its own, but if you add two heaped spoons of sugar, then you have a hot, highly-acidic and sweetened solution that can cause tooth sensitivity issues – not to mention tooth stains. Try adding milk to decrease temperature and acidity, and cut out the sugar altogether to savour the natural taste and aroma of your coffee.
- Hard, gummy or chewy candy. Candy might not be hot or cold, but it has all the damaging acid and sticky sugars that erode teeth and cause plaque and decay – with one big difference. You might suck or chew on them for several minutes at a time. This lowers PH and dissolves your tooth enamel for longer periods before your saliva can manage to neutralise all the acids. Additionally, when chewing gummy or chewy candy, strong suction forces may develop that can pluck out fillings, crowns and loose teeth.
- Ice cream. You would think that since ice-cream has the protective effects of a typical dairy product, it’s ok. Too bad it’s super sweet and sticky, like soft drink. And with the temperature of ice cream nudging 0˚, a freezing lump of ice cream snagged on a sensitive tooth can trigger a nerve event that will have you gasping and wincing in pain.
- Frozen drinks or slushies. These beverages combine the effects of soft drink and ice cream into one convenient drink, with or without the dairy. They are even sweeter and colder than ice cream, and can erode your tooth enamel faster – and chill your tooth nerves to the bone!
If you let one of these drinks warm up a little, all you are doing, is allowing the frozen sugars to melt and stick to your tooth surfaces – like glue.
- Citrus fruits and fruit juices (incl. tomatoes). Citrus fruits are a natural food, and do not contribute to plaque formation nor tooth decay. However, they are right at the top end of highly acidic foods. The most acidic fruits/fruit juices include lemon juice, limes, grapefruits, grapes and cranberry juice. While they are invaluable alkalising foods once digested, keeping them in the mouth for too long will soften your enamel. Never suck on or put your teeth in direct contact with these fruits for long periods. Use a straw to drink juice.