Is Spice Not So Nice (for your teeth)?

Many of us LOVE our spicy food, including our very own Calgary dentist, Dr. Dirk Thompson.  But have you ever thought about what spicy food could be doing to your teeth?  If you suffer from stained teeth, sensitive teeth or acid reflux, you may wish to consider how spicy foods may be affecting your pearly whites the next time you indulge in your favourite spicy food.

  • Spicy foods can aggravate acid reflux, which can lead to tooth decay. Teeth are sensitive to acids, and even acids with a relatively high pH can still erode teeth. If this is an issue for you, cut back on your consumption of spicy foods and sauces - your stomach and teeth (and dentist!) will both thank you!

  • Due to their heat and high acidity, spicy foods can irritate sensitive teeth.  If you suffer from sensitive teeth, it is recommended that your follow up with your dentist to determine the cause of the sensitive teeth, as sensitive teeth can be due to more serious dental health issues such as cavities and gum recession, requiring such dental treatment as fillings and root canals.

  • Many store-bought hot sauces contain high amounts of sugar which can contribute to tooth decay. Many spicy foods and sauces are also highly acidic which can also contribute to tooth decay.

  • The ingredients of some spicy foods, such as turmeric, can stain and discolour your teeth if they are consumed too frequently. The dark colour of some hot sauces, coupled with their high acidity, are also known to cause teeth to discolour over time.  If you are experiencing stained teeth, there are several teeth whitening options available to whiten and brighten your teeth.  Our Calgary dental office can help you determine which type of teeth whitening is best for you, including day teeth whitening, night teeth whitening and even laser teeth whitening.  

There is some good news, however, for those of us who love spicy food.  According to Guardian Direct, chile powder is actually good for our gums and teeth as it contains high amounts of vitamin A, which is known to be good for our bones and teeth.  It also helps with mucus and tissue health in our gums as it reduces inflammation due to infection and minor trauma.

Additionally, onions, which are often an ingredient in spicy foods, help to fight harmful bacteria found in our mouths.  Onions also contain manganese, which helps bind calcium to our bones and teeth. They also help with inflammation as they contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, as well as folate.

At the end of the day, our Calgary dentist’s best advice is enjoy your spicy food in moderation and don’t forget to brush and floss after eating, and, of course, make your appointment with our dentist, Dr. Dirk Thompson, at our conveniently located NW dental office in Calgary!

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