Who would guess that a diet that is healthy for your body could also be damaging to your teeth? For example, would your first thought be that a protein shake could be bad for your teeth?
Dr. Fred Guerra with Guerra Dental in Colorado Springs says, "An individual will go on protein shakes, and many of them are very acidic in nature, so it's not that they have sugar in them but they have a high acid content, and some people are on them all the time."
Dr. Guerra says he frequently finds patients who are trying to improve their health are actually doing unknown damage to their teeth.
"What we want to be aware of as dentists and detectives, is if they have decay, but not significant wear or damage. We have to figure out what's causing this. What is in their diet, is it a liquid? The other damaging aspect of a diet is sports drinks, all of those sports drinks are highly acidic in nature, and the kids instead of water are drinking those high acidic content sports drinks, and it's wearing away the enamel of their teeth."
It's not just the protein shakes and sports drinks that so-called healthy eaters need to be aware of, adds Dr. Guerra. "We had a patient who had come in and switched to a salad diet, and you would think that's healthy, so they were very proud that they are doing something healthy, but it’s the acidic balsamic vinegar dressing they are having 5-6 times a day on the salad (that) is eating away at the teeth."
And if you’re avoiding calories with a diet soda, Dr. Guerra says that can also be an issue. "If you’re the type of person who is sipping on a diet soda all day long, we can see immense damage from doing that. If a person just drank a full liter, at one time, and then rinsed their mouth out with water. It's not so much the amount (of acidic liquid) but the frequency and duration."
Dr. Guerra recommends after that protein shake, sports drink or diet soda, simply give your mouth a good rinse with water. Rinsing your mouth out with water can be more healthy than breaking out the toothbrush several times a day and over-brushing, which can also be damaging to your teeth. Brushing and flossing twice a day, morning and night is always best. If you have any questions follow up with your dentist.