Considered a “super-fruit,” the strawberry is rich in antioxidants and extremely beneficial to heart health. Low in calories but high in vitamin C, potassium, fiber and folic acid, strawberries are a tasty part of a healthy diet — but too much of a good thing can be bad for your teeth.
Unfortunately, strawberries, like many healthy foods, are highly acidic — and consuming acidic foods and drinks on an ongoing basis can lead tooth erosion, a condition that wears down the protective coating of enamel on your teeth. Once tooth enamel is lost, it doesn’t grow back. Enamel erosion can cause a wide range of dental problems, including sensitive teeth, discoloration, cracked teeth and even tooth loss.
That’s not to say you have to cut back on the foods that are good for you. We have some tips on how you can protect your teeth and maximize the benefits of eating this delicious fruit:
1. Eat smart. Pair your strawberries with foods that have low acid and sugar content. Nuts, spinach, bananas, apples and many dairy products are excellent options.
2. Don’t eat constantly throughout the day. Waiting a couple of hours between servings allows saliva to neutralize acid and repair tooth enamel.
3. Rinse after eating. Rinsing your mouth out with water also neutralizes acid.
4. Chew gum. Chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes following a meal can activate saliva and help wash away debris.
5. Hold off on brushing your teeth. Yes, you read that right! The abrasives in toothpaste can further damage enamel that’s weakened by acid. Wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth after eating or drinking something acidic.
6. Floss. Strawberries contain an average of 200 seeds, which can get stuck in your teeth. Flossing at least once a day will help you prevent cavities from developing between teeth.
When it comes to the many health benefits of strawberries, your teeth are probably the last thing on your mind. But with a little forethought, you can fully enjoy your favorite fruit without worrying about your dental health.
Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC
290 Carpenter Drive, 200A
Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328
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