Apple cider vinegar can do everything from settle an upset stomach to cure acne and hiccups to help you lose weight. And that doesn’t even begin to cover all of the ways apple cider vinegar can benefit your health. But before you pick up a glass of this magical elixir, beware: This natural tonic could also have a negative effect on your teeth.
Apple cider vinegar can erode tooth enamel, research shows. While many studies have examined the effects of acidic foods such as soft drinks and fruit juices, there’s research showing that the acetic acid found in vinegar puts it in the same category. In one study researchers placed the enamel of wisdom teeth in different vinegar samples with pH levels ranging from 2.7 to 3.9.
RELATED: Foods that stain your teeth
Foods that stain your teeth
Foods that stain your teeth
If you like your coffee black, you may want to consider adding a little bit of milk to lighten the hue. Not only does the dark color have a tendency to stain your teeth, "coffee can also be dehydrating to the mouth, so there is little saliva produced to wash away the stain," says Dr. Nancy Rosen, a New York City-based cosmetic dentist.
Even though these power berries are filled with antioxidants and essential nutrients, the deep blue hue can darken your teeth as well. Instead of popping a handful of ripe blueberries right before your wedding, add them to a yogurt smoothie and enjoy through a straw. The straw prevents the berries from making direct contact with your teeth, so the potential damage is greatly reduced.
The deep red color that makes beets so appealing—especially in a warm beet and goat cheese salad—unfortunately reeks havoc on your pearly whites. Rinsing your mouth immediately afterwards will help wash away the particles that have high staining power.
Refined carbohydrates like crackers, cookies, white bread and other processed foods—especially those that are tinged yellow or orange—not only stain your teeth, they may cause cavities. "Processed snacks have a lot of sugar on them, and if the sugar and carbohydrates are left on the teeth for too long, the bacteria in the mouth will feed off of this and cause cavities," explains Dr. Nancy Rosen.
Spending countless hours negotiating vendor contracts and strategizing seating charts may compel you to pop open a bottle of red wine (or two!). Don't act so fast! The intense color and high acidity that characterizes red wine wears off tooth enamel. "The sediments found in red wine contributes to its high staining power, and the fine particles seep into the tooth's pores," explains New York City-based cosmetic dentist Dr. Gregg Lituchy of Lowenberg & Lituchy.
Pickles are drenched in vinegar and other highly-acidic ingredients, which make this beloved snack enemy #1 in the eyes of a dentist. If you simply can't put down the pickle jar, try limiting yourself to just one or two every now and then, and always brush your teeth immediately afterwards.
Tomato sauce is another extremely acidic food that makes your teeth susceptible to stains. In order to thoroughly enjoy your pasta, add power veggies such as broccoli or spinach to the sauce to serve as a protective barrier and help lessen the chances of staining.
Soy sauce's signature dark color threatens to dull white teeth. On the bright side, you can enjoy wasabi at will. "Wasabi contains isothiocyanates (the same particles that makes wasabi so hot) which inhibits the growth of cavity-causing bacteria," says Dr. Nancy Rosen.
Curry is sticky and not great for the surface of your teeth,” says Dr. Gregg Lituchy. Curry powder sticks to your teeth the same way that foundation powder clings to your skin. They both lead to a surface change, although in the case of your teeth the tint is uninvited.
Tea contains tannic acids, which are plant-derived chemicals that cause external teeth staining. If you simply can't give up your daily cup of Chamomile, opt for a more alkaline tea, such as green tea.
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After four hours, the vinegars removed up to 20 percent of minerals from the teeth, the study reported. Granted, this experiment didn’t take into account the pH of the saliva of the human mouth, which neutralizes the acidity in the food we eat. But it’s clear that apple cider vinegar has its downsides. For more on the cons, find out why you should never, ever take shots of apple cider vinegar.
RELATED: Foods that may prevent tooth decay
Foods that prevent tooth decay
Foods that prevent tooth decay
Maybe you like yours over easy or fried to perfection, but no matter which style you're into, eggs are vitamin D-rich and actively help fight tooth decay. "Vitamin D prevents tooth decay because it promotes tooth development and stronger teeth are less susceptible to decay," explains Dr. Greg Gelfand, DDS. This is great news for breakfast sandwich lovers because eggs are also great for improving your eyesight.
If you're wondering how to prevent cavities during the holidays when food is loaded with extra sugar, try filling your plate up with vitamin A-packed sweet potatoes. "Vitamin A is vital for salivary function, which buffers the pH of your mouth, helping to prevent tooth decay," says Dr. Gelfand. Surprisingly, sweet potatoes also have even more potassium than bananas.
Salami is probably the last food you'd ever dream of when looking to fight oral issues, but one Australian dentist went on the record recently saying that vitamin K2, one of the lesser-known vitamins, is necessary for great dental health. Guess which foods are rich in K2? Cured meats, like salami, and soft cheese. Plus, an ounce of two of brie is a great way to add some flair to scrambled eggs, another K2-rich food.
Plain yogurt is loaded with calcium, vitamin D, and immunity-boosting probiotics, so you may not be surprised to find dairy on our list of tooth decay-fighters. However, you'll be excited to learn that yogurt has both mouth-healthy and gut-healthy properties, says Lawrence Fung, DDS, a cosmetic dentist and spokesperson for Hello Oral Care, a natural-focused dental hygiene company. "Since our teeth are made up of calcium, foods containing calcium are great at building up our teeth's enamel," he explains of how to prevent cavities. "To help increase the uptake of calcium in our teeth, foods that contain vitamin D, magnesium, and phosphorus can help as well."
Strawberries are naturally jam-packed with vitamin C, and it turns out that's a good thing for more than just revamping dull, dry skin. "Vitamin C will help with wound healing, thus giving your gums a boost," shares Dr. Fung.
Does this seem crazy to you? Well, it should, because nobody ever considered butter healthy before finding out that it is a good source of that periodontal disease-fighting vitamin B12 (although the butter-might-be-healthy case is building). "Vitamin B12 is beneficial in reversing oral wounds like canker sores and promoting gum health," tells Catrise Austin, DDS, the self-proclaimed queen of smiles in New York City. "Decreased vitamin B intake may lead to the progression of mild gum infections like gingivitis, or advanced gum infections like periodontitis that commonly lead to tooth loss." You can also find B12 in soy, rice, and cheese, but butter sounds like a lot more fun, doesn't it?
Did you really need another reason to have that second piece of avocado toast? Well, sure, avocados are calorie-burning powerhouses, but their high potassium levels also help prevent tooth decay. "Potassium is a mineral that helps strengthen and prevents the breakdown of bone," says Dr. Austin. A lack of potassium can be what causes tooth decay in some people, so it's important to fill up on this mineral.
Load your salads and snack bowls up with walnuts, pistachios, and cashews because Jonathan Neman, DDS says phosphorous-rich nuts are great for protecting teeth. "Phosphorus-rich foods have been shown to protect tooth enamel and reduce the risk of cavities by making our saliva neutralize the acids." Here's to hoping this is a good excuse add more peanut butter to our smoothies.
Sure, beans are one of the best vegan protein sources, but did you know they're also great for your teeth thanks to their high phosphate content? "Your teeth are composed of calcium and phosphate, so these minerals must be present in order for the teeth to remineralize and remain strong," shares Krysta Manning, DDS, of Solstice Dental & Aesthetics in Louisville, Kentucky. You may want to add cheese to your beans, too (hello, burrito time). "Vitamin D, like that found in cheese and dairy products, can help your body to regulate calcium and phosphorous levels."