Are Citrus Fruits Bad for Teeth?

Aerial view of various slices of citrus, including grapefruit, lemon, lime, and orange
Image by Lena Khrupina from Pexels

In addition to brushing, flossing, and regularly visiting our office, consuming a balanced diet is an important part of maintaining excellent oral health. You probably know the basics of a diet good for oral health: limit sugary foods, eat a variety of nutritious foods, drink plenty of water, etc. However, there are certain foods, like citrus, that have both positive and negative effects on oral health.

How Does Citrus Impact Your Oral Health?

Citrus is chock full of vitamin C. Vitamin C has tons of health benefits like lowering blood pressure, fighting infection, healing wounds, and more. However, citrus is also full of citric acid that can contribute to enamel damage and canker sores.

How Does Citric Acid Damage Your Teeth?

Whether as a by-product of bacteria’s sugar consumption or as part of your diet, acid is damaging to tooth enamel, the protective outer surface of your teeth. Even though tooth enamel is the hardest surface in your body, it is not impervious to acid. Over time, acid wears away the surface of your enamel and leads to demineralization, decay, and cavities. Cavities are small holes and pits that penetrate through multiple layers of your teeth. Without prompt treatment, cavities can lead to bad breath, infection, pain, tooth loss, and bone loss.

Depending on the severity, decay can be reversed with fluoride, superb oral hygiene, and a balanced diet, but sometimes the tooth requires a filling, root canal therapy, or extraction.

Should You Avoid Citrus?

We recommend consuming citrus in moderation so you can still enjoy the refreshing taste and obtain the beneficial vitamin C while not exposing your teeth to excessive citric acid. One way you can protect your teeth after consuming citrus is to drink a glass of water. The water will help wash away the acid from your tooth enamel before it can do much damage.

More Questions? We Have Answers!

To ask our team any additional questions about the link between your diet and oral health or to schedule your next appointment, contact us today.

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Hillstream Dental

Hillstream Dental