How do spicy foods affect my teeth?

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The heat in your mouth from consuming spicy foods isn’t actually bad for you.

It may be hard to believe that the fire you feel won’t damage your teeth, but as long as the spicy foods aren’t fried and processed, there’s no reason to believe that chilis put your dental health in danger. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to be cautious when you indulge in spicy cuisine.

Onions kill bacteria

Tooth decay starts with bacteria and gets worse when you feed that bacteria a steady diet of processed sugar. But onions, often an ingredient in spicy foods, fight the bacteria that harm your mouth. In addition, onions contain a large helping of many beneficial vitamins that promote strong bones. For one, onions have manganese, which helps bind calcium to your bones and teeth. They also contain vitamin B6 and folate, which reduce inflammation, and vitamin C. Plus, they don’t have any pigment that can stain your teeth.

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Chili powder helps teeth maintenance

Chili powder has a lot of vitamin A in it, which is known for protecting your bones and your teeth. Vitamin A is also good for your gums. It helps with the mucus and tissue health of your gums and reduces inflammation from infection and minor trauma. Gum health is essential to good tooth health, so if you’re a fan of chili powder, moderation is actually good for your teeth!

Acid reflux can cause damage

While the spicy foods themselves aren’t going to damage your teeth, they can cause acid reflux, which will erode your tooth enamel. Teeth are sensitive to acids, and even acids with a relatively high pH will still erode teeth. Stomach acid has a much lower pH (which means much higher acidity) and is dangerous to tooth health. If you know you suffer from acid reflux when you eat spicy foods, it’s safer for your teeth if you stop immediately.

Some spices discolor teeth

Many spicy foods have ingredients that discolor your teeth. Curry, for example, often uses turmeric, a yellowish spice that can cause serious stains on your teeth if you eat it often. Turmeric is actually pretty good for you, so you don’t have to cut it out altogether, but keep your consumption to a minimum if you want your teeth to be their whitest.

While spicy foods won’t hurt your teeth by themselves, you must examine each food you eat for other qualities that could diminish the health of your pearly whites. If you’re concerned about a favorite food, consult with your dentist for personalized advice.

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