Dental damage from teas and vegetables

Dear Dr. Ellie: I have run across numerous articles about the negative dental effects of phytic acid from grains and nuts, etc recently. For example:

How To Eat Grains

Reverse Tooth Decay and Avoid Braces by Changing One Dietary Factor

Coconut, phytic acid, tooth decay and confusion

Phytic Acid: Who Should be the Most Concerned, The Most Important Dietary Change, Decreasing Phytic Acid’s Effect

What do you think of these?
 – A

Hi A,

Phytic acid has a number of effects on teeth – mainly by “dissolving” a protective protein pellicle layer from the outside of teeth – (Pellicle is a biofilm that protects the underlying delicate enamel crystals from mechanical, acidic and temperature damage). The condition of teeth is the result of an equation: (how long have your teeth been damaged) vs (how long have your teeth been repaired/strengthened) each day.

Without a pellicle layer to protect teeth, the amount of damage that occurs in a short time, is increased.
Damaged teeth are under attack MORE than they are nourished each day.

This is why it is important to drink teas, coffees, citrus fruits etc at a meal and then END the meal with a “tooth protective” food.

This keeps “damage time” to a minimum. I suggest cheese or whole-organic dairy products as a great ending to a meal – but xylitol is another option.

Problems occur when people give up dairy and add a lot of raw veggies to their diet, nibbling through the day – drinking juices and snacking on phytate-rich foods.

The protective coating is dissolved off the teeth and erosion/decay can quickly occur.
This can be prevented – as mentioned above – using a tooth protective food at the end of every drink, meal or snack.

Thanks so much for your links – I agree that most people have no idea “why” tea, wine or coffee stain teeth.

It does not have to happen – you just drink the tea, wine or coffee as part of a meal and end with some cheese, or you can nibble cheese or dairy while you sip your tooth-damaging drink!

Dr. Ellie

More information can be found on this topic and more at:

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