Need a liquid pick-me-up? Skip this tooth stripper. In the study comparing five beverages, energy drinks were second worst after sports drinks -- mainly because they had little ability to buffer the acids in the beverage. And drinks like these are an especially bad idea for adolescents and young adults, whose tooth enamel is less mature and more porous.
Fruit juices, especially citrus, apple, and berry varieties, are loaded with the kinds of acids that wear down tooth enamel. Of course, juices also have some great-for-you qualities, too -- like vitamins and antioxidants. So don't write them off completely. Just drink them in moderation. Frequent fruit juice consumption has been linked to an increased risk of enamel erosion. As an extra measure, rinse afterward. And choose calcium-fortified juices that may pose less of a hazard to tooth enamel.
Ever seen someone suck on a slice of lemon or lime? Here's why that's a bad idea: fruits from the citrus family -- including oranges, lemons, and limes -- contain enamel-damaging acids. Berries do, too. Still, you don't want to ditch fruit and all the RealAge benefits they confer. Just eat fruit with a meal to help minimize acid effects.
Vinegar turns up in lots of places -- salad dressings, sauces, potato chips, pickles. And each one could spell trouble for tooth enamel. In a study, teenagers who frequently consumed vinegar-containing foods had a 30%–85% increased risk of enamel erosion compared with teens who didn't consume those foods. Teens are more vulnerable to erosion because of less mature tooth enamel. But it's a good idea for people to be aware of the potential impact that vinegar can have. Vinegar is a low-fat way to add flavor, but rinse afterward to protect your teeth.