08 July, 2011
What Does Malic Acid Do to Teeth?
Your teeth sustain their fair share of abuse throughout your lifetime. Incisors bite, canines tear and molars grind and chew food before it enters your digestive system. To do their job, your teeth need to remain strong and healthy. Malic acid, a low-pH compound, is essential to your muscles but an enemy to your teeth.
About Malic Acid
Fruits and vegetables, especially apples, contain malic acid, a crystalline compound, colorless in nature. According to New York University Langone Medical Center, your body is also capable of producing its own malic acid. Your body relies on malic acid to assist in the process of converting carbohydrates into energy for optimum muscle performance and the reduction of muscle fatigue following exercise. A malic acid deficiency may interfere with normal muscle functions, resulting in weakness and pain.
Each of your teeth contain a layer of translucent enamel. This enamel protects your teeth during use and insulates the teeth against temperature changes. Although enamel is the hardest tissue in your body, it is no match for malic acid. Enamel contains no living tissue, which means that once damage occurs, your body cannot repair it. According to Health Services at Columbia University, malic acid breaks down tooth enamel causing dental decomposition, which is irreversible.
What You Can Do
It is possible to reduce tooth enamel erosion by removing traces of malic acid from your mouth after eating. Health Services at Columbia University explains that brushing with neutral toothpaste or gargling with a neutral mouthwash after consuming fruits and vegetables that contain malic acid, can help. If neither are on hand, chewing gum, eat a piece of cheese or drink a glass of milk to increase saliva production in your mouth, diluting and washing away the malic acid.
Despite the dangers that it poses to tooth enamel, malic acid does have its benefits. According to Prevention Magazine, the malic acid in strawberries can whiten teeth. Mash two or three strawberries in a small bowl and add a pinch of baking soda to the mash. Apply the strawberry baking soda mix to your toothbrush and brush your teeth for several minutes to buff away stains. Rinse with water immediately after and follow with a swish of neutral mouthwash, which will protect the enamel. Repeat the process once every three or four months to keep your smile bright.
- Monkey Business Images/Monkey Business/Getty Images