Is pizza bad for your teeth? That's a question that we get asked at Healthy Smiles of Staten Island more than we ever thought we would. There are a lot of misconceptions out there surrounding food and our teeth, and believe it or not, pizza is the target of some of those misconceptions. Today, we're going to talk about pizza - and food in general - and how to protect your teeth from whatever you might be eating.
Pizza is made with a tomato-based sauce, and tomatoes are acidic. Consequently, a lot of people wonder if the acidity in the sauce will wear away the enamel. It makes sense, really. We all know that citrus can wear away the enamel over time due to its high acidity. What many people have realized is that tomatoes are also highly acidic. So if citrus can damage your teeth, it stands to reason that tomato sauce can, as well.
While many foods can damage your teeth over time, it's only a concern if you aren't taking care of your teeth properly. It's not really a question which foods or drinks are bad for your teeth. It's much more of a question of are you taking the necessary steps to protect your teeth and keep your mouth healthy.
So, yes, over time and without proper oral hygiene, pizza is bad for your teeth. However, the big caveat here is the "without proper oral hygiene".
Rather than one food item damaging your teeth, what you need to remain cognizant of is how often you're eating in between brushing. One of the reasons we consider ourselves the best dentist in Staten Island is that we emphasize the importance of prevention over cure, and prevention is absolutely possible when it comes to food.
So what damages your teeth? It's grazing. Constantly grazing throughout the day is what can really lead to enamel erosion. Whenever you eat anything, it changes the pH balance in your mouth. This is especially true if you don't brush your teeth after every meal, and for many of us, that's simply not possible. When you eat anything with a high acidity level, it not only wears away the enamel over time, but it also changes the pH balance in your mouth, making it easier for the enamel to become damaged.
As with so many questions about dental care, protecting your teeth comes down to proper dental hygiene practices. Most everyone brushes and flosses twice a day, but your mouth can benefit from a much higher frequency. If possible, brush, floss, and use mouthwash after every meal and snack. This helps to immediately remove food debris and balance the pH in your mouth, which in turn, helps to keep your teeth healthy.
If you can't brush, floss, and use mouthwash every time you eat, at least do these as often as possible throughout the day to help limit the amount of damage your teeth sustain from acidity and the change in your mouth's pH.
What we like to say is that it doesn't really matter what you eat so long as you always take care of your teeth properly, and it really is true. Its not the food, it's the overall oral care that you practice.
So is pizza bad for your teeth? Not really. At least, not if you follow proper oral healthcare guidelines. Brush, floss, and use mouthwash after every meal or as often as possible, and your teeth should be find. We would much rather be your Staten Island dentist of choice for prevention and maintenance than the dentist you come to for oral health issues. So keep that travel size toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash with you all the time. Those are the keys to protecting your teeth.