Almost all doctors will tell you that citrus fruit is incredibly healthy and beneficial. It’s packed with vitamin C and other nutrients that make our skin look better and fight off free radicals. However, the dentists will tell you a different story.
Let’s talk more about why citrus fruit may not be healthy for your teeth and whether you need to give it up.
Why Is Citrus Fruit Bad for Your Teeth?
The main reason why dentists won’t recommend citrus fruit is that they’re highly acidic. This acid can damage the enamel, the protective layer of your teeth. When the enamel is damaged, the teeth become more sensitive and prone to cavities, tooth decay, and other infections.
The normal pH range of our saliva is between 6.2 and 7.6. Lemons have a pH level between 2.0 and 2.6, which is a significant difference. You may think oranges are sweeter, so it’s better to consume them. However, oranges also have a low pH level: between 3.7 and 4.3. Plus, oranges are also high in sugar, which is definitely not good for your teeth.
Should You Stop Consuming Citrus Fruit?
Although it’s highly acidic, remember that citrus fruit still has plenty of vitamins and minerals that promote healthy teeth and gums.
Vitamin C is responsible for keeping our gums strong and preventing infections. Plus, citrus fruit is high in fibers which have an anti-inflammatory function and are good for our digestive health.
It’s recommended to consume one serving of citrus fruit per day. If you eat a lot, the risk of damaging your enamel increases.
Can You Consume Citrus Fruit Without Damaging Your Teeth?
Eating excessive amounts of citrus fruit will affect your teeth over time. But completely giving up these health bombs isn’t the solution. You’ll be depriving yourself of an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to minimize the damage.
Drink Water After Eating Citrus Fruit
Water has a neutral pH level that helps neutralize the acidity of citrus fruit. Even if you don’t eat citrus fruit, drinking a lot of water is excellent for maintaining a healthy pH.
Eat Citrus Fruit Quickly
You may think it’s better to eat citrus fruit slowly throughout the day to minimize the damage, but it’s actually quite the opposite. By consuming it quickly, you reduce the length of time your teeth are “attacked” by acid.
Eat Citrus Fruit With Your Meal
Consume citrus fruit as part of a salad, dessert, or soup. That way, you’ll combine it with less acidic foods and lower the chances of damage. Additionally, your teeth won’t be exposed to acid for an extended period, which happens when you eat the fruit as a snack.
Don’t Brush Your Teeth After Eating Citrus Fruit
Some may think brushing their teeth right after eating citrus fruit eliminates the acid and prevents damage. However, doing this will only increase it. The acid from citrus fruit can affect the enamel for up to an hour after eating. During this period, your teeth are much more sensitive. If you want to brush your teeth, wait at least an hour.
Chew Sugarless Gum After Eating Citrus Fruit
Chewing gum that contains xylitol encourages saliva production, which is essential in restoring normal pH levels. Plus, xylitol can also contribute to preventing harmful bacteria from damaging your teeth.
Citrus Fruit: Heroes and Villains
Although highly beneficial, citrus fruit can damage our teeth because they’re highly acidic. Fortunately, you don’t have to swear off citrus fruit to have strong and healthy teeth. Just be careful how and when you consume it and don’t forget about proper dental hygiene.