Green smoothies are one of many recent health-food trends for people who want to lose weight, “detox” their bodies, and find a simple way to improve their overall health. But could people be damaging their teeth with green smoothies, leading to a greater need for reconstructive dentistry?
Acidity of Green Smoothies
One potential way that green smoothies could damage your teeth is with their acidity. Acidic foods and beverages can erode your enamel, and if you’re substituting an acidic beverage for a neutral or alkaline meal once or twice a day, you may end up damaging your teeth.
The acidity of a green smoothie depends on its ingredients. Let’s look at a few green smoothie recipes and see how their acidity measures up.
Collard Green Smoothie with Mango and Lime:
- 2 tablespoons lime juice (pH 2)
- 2 cups collard greens or spinach (6.2)
- 1 ½ cups mango (4.1)
- 1 cup green grapes (3.4)
This recipe will give you a smoothie with a pH somewhere in the range of 4, which is enough to erode tooth enamel.
Spinach Smoothie with Avocado and Apple:
- 1 ½ cups apple juice (3.7)
- 2 cups spinach or kale (6.7 for kale)
- 1 apple (3.7)
- ½ avocado (6.5)
This recipe may give you a smoothie with a pH in the range of 5–especially if you use kale–which is only mildly dangerous to tooth enamel.
Kale Smoothie with Pineapple and Banana:
- ½ cup coconut milk (6.6)
- 2 cups stemmed and chopped kale or spinach
- 1 ½ cups pineapple (3.6)
- 1 ripe banana (4.8)
This recipe may give you a smoothie with a pH in the range of 5 or even 6, which is considered safe for teeth.
Now what about a so-called alkaline green smoothie? Here’s a popular recipe:
- 4 cups organic spinach
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1 medium avocado
- 2 whole peeled limes or the juice of 1 red grapefruit (3.2)
- 1 English cucumber (5.4)
- 1 or 2 cups ice
- 1 inch piece of raw creamed coconut (6.7)
- Stevia (6-8 depending on formulation)
Despite the addition of highly acidic citrus, this smoothie has a likely neutral or alkaline pH, so it won’t erode your tooth enamel.
Avoid Smoothie Damage
These are only estimates of the pH for given recipes, based on likely pH values for foods given by the FDA. Every fruit and vegetable is going to have a slightly different pH, so the recipes might turn out different for you, but if you keep in mind the pH values of your ingredients you can control the acidity of your green smoothies.
And if you’re consuming an acidic green smoothie, follow our tips for avoiding damage from acidic foods.