We recently blogged about the dangers of eating acidic foods in excess, but we didn’t really have a chance to go into detail about which foods contain harmful acids and what kinds of harmful acids are out there in foods. Before we do explain that however, it’s important to note that just because a particular food is acidic that we shouldn’t stop eating it entirely. Acidic foods can be perfectly fine in moderation, especially when you give the teeth time to re-mineralize before eating more acidic foods. When shopping for foods and looking for their acid content the best way to determine what sorts of acid are in a specific food is to look at the ingredients list on the label. This is especially important in the coming holiday season as we tend to indulge ourselves by eating a lot over the holidays and eating different foods that we aren’t typically eating on a daily basis. Again this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t enjoy the plentiful holiday food this season, but we should make sure we aren’t eating everything on the list in a single meal and that we give breaks between helpings of acidic foods so that our teeth have time to heal before being subjected to further acidic damage.
Going in alphabetical order we start with acetic acid. Acetic acid is one of the largest ingredients in vinegar. Common foods containing vinegar are mostly sauces like ketchup and salad dressings. This Thanksgiving and Christmas season we are most likely to find this acid in our salad dressings.
The next common acid on the list is ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid is also known as one of the common forms of vitamin C. Vitamin C can be very good for your overall health, so it should be taken on a regular basis but in smaller doses. The most well known source of ascorbic acid is in oranges, but it can also be found in many other fruits as well. This holiday season look out for foods containing lots of fruits like oranges and strawberries and other antioxidant fruits.
Similar to the ascorbic acid is citric acid. Citric acid is also commonly found in fruits and as most people know it is specifically found in citric fruits. But something that is not commonly known is the presence of citric acid in caramels and ice creams. Citric acid is commonly added to these two sweets to prevent fats from separating in ice creams and to prevent caramels from crystallizing. Since these two foods are rather common over the holidays it may be a good idea to check the ingredients list for these foods when shopping this holiday season. If you can’t find these foods without citric acid, then be sure to eat and serve them in moderation.
Next is fumaric acid. Fumaric acid is not one that is usually found in foods on its own, but is instead added to foods by companies that produce processed foods. Generally fumaric acid can be found in beverages and baking powder to give these items a sour taste. It can also be added to foods that normally have a sourness or tartness to them to give them an extra bit of sour taste. If purchasing any sour foods for the holiday season check the ingredients for fumaric acids, and be wary of baking powder which is used in most baked goods.
These are just the first four acids that are found in common foods. There are five more acids that are commonly found and should be watched out for over the holiday season. Check out “How to Know Which Foods Are Too Acidic for Your Teeth This Holiday Season Part 2” for more information about the other acids that may cause damage to your teeth this holiday season. If you are concerned about damage to your teeth due to acidic foods, Dr. James A. Wells from South Charlotte Dentistry can help! To make an appointment with Dr. Wells’ Ballantyne office, please visit our contact us page or call 704-759-0908!