Apple Cider Vinegar: Does It Hurt Your Teeth?

 The apple cider vinegar craze has been increasing in popularity over the last few years. This super sour drink has been touted as a panacea for everything that ails you. Avid apple cider vinegar drinkers claim it does everything from reducing inflammation to improving allergies, and even increasing your metabolism to help you lose weight. Other claims include that it increases energy- and still, others swear by it as a cleaning product! While apple cider vinegar may have some benefits, it should be used with care and be sure to rinse after using.

The reason behind this warning is that apple cider vinegar is extremely acidic. It is high in acetic acid, a substance that is known to be extremely damaging to tooth enamel. The pH of apple cider ranges between 2.5 and 3.0 in comparison to water, which is typically about 6.5 to 7.2.

Acetic acid weakens the tooth enamel, making it softer and more susceptible to attack from bacteria that cause tooth decay. When enamel is weak and bacteria attack, cavities develop, and patients face the need for restorations.

Additionally, researchers say that because apple cider vinegar weakens the enamel significantly, people should wait for at least 30 minutes after drinking it to brush their teeth. The theory is that brushing in the weakened state can further damage the enamel.

While some apple cider vinegar advocates say that drinking it is perfectly fine because saliva possesses the enzymes necessary to neutralize the acid, some researchers say that is not the case.

The best way to ensure that apple cider vinegar does not weaken enamel is to dilute it. While some individuals are brave enough to drink it straight, mixing it in water helps to reduce the acidity of it. To dilute it to a safe level, patients should mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to about eight ounces of water.

Want to learn how to protect your enamel? Call Dr. Erpenbach today at 865-329-7815.