Are you wondering if there are foods that will help your sensitive teeth? Or foods that have a negative impact? Being aware of foods that cause tooth sensitivity can help you make better dietary choices for the lasting health of your teeth and gums.
Some of the worst foods for sensitive teeth can damage your teeth over time, leading to plaque build-up, mineral loss and discomfort when eating. Meanwhile, other foods are brimming with the nutrients needed to keep your teeth healthy.
Alongside your general health, it’s important to keep oral health front of mind when it comes to your diet. You could, for instance, include a toothpaste in your oral care routine that will reduce tooth sensitivity and protect your teeth for the future.
The Worst Foods for Sensitive Teeth & Dental Care in General
Many of the foods that aren’t great for your health - like fizzy drinks and high sugar items – are also some of the worst foods for sensitive teeth. Foods that specifically have a role in causing sensitive teeth because they are acidic and therefore can erode enamel (leading to exposed dentine beneath) include:
Fizzy drinks are acidic, and this acid can directly damage enamel. Sipping fizzy drinks throughout the day means your teeth are under constant attack, so if you do want them, it’s better to drink them in one go, and with food, rather than little and often on their own.
Acidic fruit like lemons and oranges also contribute to mineral loss, even if they seem like the healthier option they should still be consumed in moderation.
Coffee can be an acidic drink, which can lead to enamel erosion, especially if drinking multiple cups a day.
Coffee is a culprit when it comes to staining your teeth too, as coffee contains tannins. Tannins cause colour compounds to stick to your teeth, which can leave an unwanted yellow colour behind.
Pickled foods have a high acid count, so if you’re snacking on these, do so in one sitting.
If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, seek advice from your dentist and keep an eye on your intake of these foods that can contribute to tooth sensitivity:
You already knew that sugar would be on the list of the worst foods for sensitive teeth. This is because the bacteria that live in your mouth feed on sugar and turn the pH into acid that weakens the enamel. Enamel is the protective outer layer of the tooth; once this is gone, it cannot be regrown.
The longer a food or drink sticks to your teeth, the more time bacteria have to produce acid and cause damage to the tooth. Sticky things like peanut butter, raisins and toffees can all be foods that cause tooth sensitivity. Starchy, dry foods like potato crisps and bread, which contain sugars, can also get stuck between your teeth.
The Best Foods for Healthy Teeth
A well-balanced diet is good for both your waistline and the health of your teeth. While the foods below will not relieve sensitive teeth, they may help you avoid getting sensitive teeth, and help you maintain healthy teeth.
Calcium is an important mineral for the health of your teeth because it strengthens the teeth, reinforcing the protective layer that shields your delicate dentin.
Some fibre-rich foods can increase saliva production, and saliva is part of your mouth’s natural way of increasing mineral content to combat acid attacks and mineral loss. Fibre-rich foods that help sensitive teeth include:
- Black beans
- Brown rice.
These are also high in fibre, along with vitamin B, which supports your overall health. Switch to wholegrain cereals and pastas to support your oral health.
Leafy greens like kale, spinach and cabbage are full of vitamins and minerals while being low in calories. They also contain folic acid and calcium, making leafy greens a whole-body health choice.
Top tips for your diet and healthy teeth
The fact you’re asking the question ‘how can I keep my teeth healthy?’ is a great start! Small changes to your diet and oral care routine can make a big difference. You don’t need to totally overhaul how you eat, but the below will help:
- Cut back on foods with added sugars.
- Chew sugarless gum to stimulate saliva production; saliva is full of minerals that support healthy teeth.
- Limit snacking – eating constantly throughout the day means your teeth never get a rest from attack!
- Rinse your mouth out with water straight after eating to prevent food sticking to your teeth.
- Wait at least half an hour after eating to brush your teeth, otherwise you’ll be brushing on weakened enamel and causing further damage.
- Embrace calcium and protein – foods rich in these will protect and rebuild your tooth enamel.
- Add foods and drinks with vitamin C to your diet, as this promotes healthy gums.
Be sure to also select the right toothpaste. If you are suffering from sensitivity on a daily basis, Sensitive Mineral Active by Pepsodent Sensitivity Repair helps by repairing teeth sensitive areas, and solving sensitivity with minerals to helps stop sensitivity and prevent it from coming back*.
When looking at foods that can lead to tooth sensitivity, it’s important to remember that some foods erode enamel which can lead to tooth sensitivity. Other foods can trigger a sensitivity experience. Making dietary tweaks, alongside a good dental care regime, can help keep your teeth healthy and pain-free.
* Sensitive areas refers to open dentinal tubules. Based on In vitro Study, 2019.
** With regular use as per pack instructions.