Newswise — Sugar isn't the only enemy of teeth. Acids found in diet and regular soda, energy drinks, juice and wine can erode tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay. The February issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter suggests ways to minimize the risk of damage from acidic foods and drinks:
Limiting consumption: In addition to soda, wine, energy drinks and juice, limit consumption of high-acid foods including tart candies, citrus fruits and foods containing vinegar.
Timing consumption: Eating acidic foods as part of a meal helps neutralize and eliminate acids. Before bedtime is the worst time to consume acidic foods, because saliva production decreases during sleep. Saliva helps neutralize and dilute acids.
Drinking right: Using a straw for soda or juice helps minimize contact with the teeth. Drinking quickly -- not sipping over long periods -- also helps reduce the effects of acid on tooth enamel.
Neutralizing: After consuming acidic food or drink, eating cheese or swishing with water or a fluoride rinse helps neutralize the acid.
Timing your brushing: Brushing teeth with fluoride toothpaste 30 minutes before consuming acidic foods or drink is most beneficial. Brushing immediately afterward should be avoided.
Chewing sugar-free gum: This can help stimulate saliva flow, which neutralizes and dilutes acid.
Mayo Clinic Health Letter is an eight-page monthly newsletter of reliable, accurate and practical information on today's health and medical news. To subscribe, please call 1-800-333-9037 (toll-free), extension 9PR1, or visit www.bookstore.mayoclinic.com.