Salads are some of the healthiest foods you can eat to maintain good health. But if you love to add vinegar-based salad dressings to your salads all the time, you may be damaging your tooth enamel. Vinegar is a popular ingredient in many dressings, including apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar and vinaigrette. Although they taste great, the vinegar in your salad dressings contain acids that may erode your tooth enamel. Here's how acid erosion develops and why it's important to cut down on your salad dressing to protect your tooth enamel.
What's Acid Erosion?
Acid erosion occurs when the outer layer of your teeth, or tooth enamel, softens and loses some of the minerals that make it healthy and strong. Over time, acid erosion exposes the nerves and blood vessels inside your teeth pulp chambers, which may lead to sensitivity in your teeth when you eat or drink cold, hot and sugary liquids.
Your acid erosion can become worse if you consume soft drinks, fruit juices and other types of foods or liquids that contain or produce acids along with your salads. Most of these items contain sugars that convert to acids when they're exposed to the bacteria in your mouth. In most cases, the acids can make your teeth appear yellow by exposing the dentin beneath your enamel.
A cosmetic dentist may be able to repair or cover your damaged teeth with tooth-colored dental crowns or veneers. However, this is something you must discuss with a cosmetic dentist if you do develop severe damage to your enamel.
You can prevent the erosion of your tooth enamel by changing the way you eat salad dressing.
How Can You Enjoy Vinegar-Based Salad Dressing Without Harming Your Teeth?
One of the things you might do when you eat salads is dilute or reduce the acidity in your salad dressings with water. Instead of pouring the condiments straight from the bottle, place a few teaspoons in a small bowl and dilute it with the same amount of water. Mix the water and dressing together thoroughly, then drizzle the contents over your salad. Not only will the mixture reduce the acid content in the dressing, it may also help you control how much of it you consume with your salads.
In addition, you may wish to make your own salad dressings for your meals. By doing so, you can control the amount of vinegar acids you expose your tooth enamel to when you eat. To make the dressing, you'll need to obtain the ingredients below:
- 1 tablespoon of white vinegar
- 1 cup of cold water
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon of oregano
- 1/2 tablespoon of diced garlic
- 3/4 cups of Parmesan cheese
Place each ingredient in a blender, then combine them together for two minutes. Pour the contents of the blender into an airtight container, then place it inside the refrigerator for one hour to chill. Serve the dressing with your salads within three days to maintain its freshness. You can also add diced green olives to the dressing if you want to create more flavor for your salads.
You may also sip on water when you eat your salads, which may wash away the acids on your teeth. It's also advisable that you wait at least 30 minutes after you eat or drink sugary or acidic foods before you brush your teeth. Doing so earlier may wash away your tooth enamel.
For more information about protecting your tooth enamel from acid erosion, or if you need to treat discoloration in your enamel, contact a cosmetic dentistry clinic for care.