Spicy foods can impact your oral health in a few ways.

If you love spicy foods, the good news is that they aren’t fundamentally bad for your oral health. It is important to understand, however, that they are best enjoyed in moderation because they can affect your teeth (and overall health) in certain ways. Read on to find out more about how spicy foods could be affecting your smile, and what you should know before you indulge…

1.  Spicy foods can exacerbate tooth sensitivity  

Tooth sensitivity can be caused by a number of factors, including dental erosion, receding gums, and tooth decay. If you suffer from this issue, you will know that it can be quite uncomfortable and that certain foods and beverages can trigger painful symptoms. Spicy and acidic foods can cause pain and irritation to teeth that are already sensitive and increase your discomfort. So, if you suffer from sensitive teeth, you might choose to avoid spicy foods completely or at least reduce the spiciness of your meal to prevent discomfort.

2.  Spicy foods can cause stains and discolouration

Unfortunately, some spicy foods can lead to stains and discolouration on the surface of the teeth, especially if you eat them often. Spices like turmeric, for example, can cause yellow stains on the teeth if eaten frequently. Dark-coloured and highly pigmented hot sauces (which also tend to be highly acidic) can also cause a similar issue. In fact, anything that would stain a white shirt is likely to stain the enamel of your teeth. If you do enjoy a spice or sauce that could cause stains from time to time, it’s advisable that you rinse your mouth with water afterwards to minimise the effects on your teeth.

3.  Spicy foods can trigger acid reflux

It is not uncommon to experience acid reflux after eating spicy foods. The issue occurs when the acidic contents of the stomach travel back up into the oesophagus, causing an uncomfortable burning sensation in the chest and throat. There are a number of foods and drinks that have been linked to acid reflux besides spicy foods. These include high-fat foods, caffeine, alcohol, tomatoes, onions, and garlic. If you suffer from acid reflux often, the problem could have a detrimental effect on your teeth. It is because stomach acid can damage the enamel, wearing away at it over time and making the teeth more prone to sensitivity, discolouration, and decay.

4.  Spicy foods sometimes contain sugar

Although you might be choosing your favourite hot sauces because you love their spicy flavours, it is important to know that many processed products, including sauces and other condiments, can actually contain a large amount of sugar. You might not even realise that you are consuming added sugar, which can contribute to the development of plaque and increase your risk of tooth decay over time. Hot, spicy sauces also often contain acidic ingredients, such as vinegar, lemon, and tomatoes, which can wear away at the enamel of your teeth, making them more susceptible to sensitivity and decay. When choosing spicy sauces, be sure to check the ingredients and, if possible, opt for one with low sugar content.

How can we help?

At G Dental, we love to help our patients maintain healthy and happy smiles. We believe that moderation is best when it comes to your dietary choices, and it is always advisable to consider your oral health when choosing the foods and drinks you consume. We also encourage all our patients to practise proper oral hygiene every day and to come in and see us for regular check-ups and cleans. By seeing us regularly, it is possible to keep your smile looking and feeling good and to address any issues before they become serious.

We offer a comprehensive range of dental services, including general, cosmetic, restorative, and children’s dentistry. To find out more about the treatments that we provide, please have a look here.

If you would like to arrange a consultation, please get in touch with us here or give us a call at 03 9435 6063.