Is Your Diet Damaging Your Teeth?

New diet fads seem to come around every year as people claim to have found the way to shed the extra pounds. Weight loss has been the number one New Year’s resolution for the past two years. And Americans spent almost $61 billion on weight loss products in 2011, a study found. However, these diet fads can have harmful side effects, including being damaging to your teeth.

A lot of diet fads require people to consume supplements or beverages as a replacement for their meal. What most people don’t know, is that many of these beverages or supplements are very acidic. Drinking or eating anything that has a lot of acid will lower the pH of your mouth. When your mouth’s pH is lowered, it will erode the enamel and underlying dentin of your teeth. This can cause staining for the teeth, decay, bulk tooth loss, the need for root canals, hypersensitivity of the teeth , or even removal of the teeth.

Another reason these diet fads can be damaging to your teeth, is that dieters often sip beverages all day long. When you drink highly acidic beverages all day, it does not give the mouth time to bring the pH level back to normal. This does more prolonged damage to the teeth. A popular detox diet fad requires the dieters to consumer a mixture of lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and water for at least 10 days. This combination of foods is very acidic and because dieters are drinking it all day long, and not anything else, it can be very damaging to the teeth.

Many people will switch to diet soda in an effort to not have as much sugar, thinking that this will be healthier for their teeth. However, diet sodas contain citric and phosphoric acids. These acids are added as flavor enhancers, but they are also very damaging to teeth. They will eat away at the enamel and cause decay.

A new diet fad that is also increasing in popularity is to flavor water, but many of  these additives also contain acidic foods that can be harmful to teeth.