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Having an acid-rich diet can put our teeth at risk of acid erosion and this can happen more easily than you might expect. As few as four acidic food or drink intake "occasions" throughout the day can put our enamel at risk from acid erosion.
What counts toward those daily acidic "occasions"? Surprisingly, it includes some of our healthier choices, like fruit, fruit juices, sparkling water with lemon.
How acidic are your favourite foods and drinks?
Knowing how acidic foods and drinks are can also help you protect your teeth from the effects of acid erosion. Is white wine more acidic than orange juice? Are apples more acidic than soda? Find out which of your favourite foods are more acidic than others in the chart to the right.
Lemon Juice Wine Sports Drinks Tonic Water Red Cherries Carbonated Soft Drinks, including diet soda Oranges Plums Blackberries, blueberries and strawberries Grapefruit Juice Pickles Vinegar Apple Sauce Apple Juice and Apple Cider Cranberries Orange Juice Tomatoes
Honey Tomato Sauce Seedless Raisins Beer Apples Green Olives Pesto Pears Apricots Figs Carrot Juice Tea (black) Beetroot Juice
Bananas Rye, wheat and white bread Barley Avocados Broccoli Cucumbers Black Olives Peanut Butter Still Mineral Water
What is pH and how is it measured?
For chemists and scientists, pH is a scale between 1-14 on how acidic (pH < 7) or alkaline (pH > 7) something is. For people concerned about an acidic diet and acid erosion, the most important thing to know is this: the lower the pH number, the more acidic a food or drink is, and the more frequently it is consumed, the more harmful it may be to your tooth enamel.
For example, distilled water has a neutral pH of 7, while tomato juice might have a pH of 4 and lemon juice might have a pH of 2 - making the lemon juice the most acidic of the three.
Knowing the pH value of the foods we eat and the beverages we drink helps us have a clearer picture of how acidic our diet really is. And knowing the acidity of our diet is an important step in making sure we protect our tooth enamel from acid erosion. The rule of thumb is the lower the pH, the higher the acidity and therefore the higher the risk it may cause acid erosion.