Most people are aware that sweets cause cavities. What most people don’t realize is that tarte sours can too! The familiar sour flavor of some foods and drinks are caused by their high acid concentration. Enamel, the outer layer of the tooth, is worn down by acid causing the holes we refer to as “cavities”. In fact, the reason sweets are a problem is because they are turned into acid by bacteria in the mouth! So, whether produced by bacteria or consumed straight, acid is what we want to keep out of the mouth!
What are typical sour foods and drinks that can wear down enamel?
While we appreciate the beneficial vitamins and fiber in most fruits, lemons and other citrus fruits should be consumed in moderation. Avoid adding lemon to your children’s water, don’t let them suck on oranges or lemons, and try and keep away from lemonade!
Sour candy is not any better for your children’s teeth than sweet candy. Especially sour gummy candy, which can become wedged into the grooves on the biting surfaces of the teeth prolonging the acid exposure!
Tea and (for our older teenage patients…) coffee are both acidic. Even without added sugar, these should be consumed in moderation. To avoid its negative effect on teeth it is much better to drink a cup of tea or coffee in one short sitting than sipping it over hours, which can prolong the duration of acid in the mouth!