Is Spicy Food Bad For Your Teeth?

Adult hipster in pink bathrobe with pink walls brushing his teeth with tan toothbrush

Who doesn’t love a spicy dish from time to time? Whether you are sampling a particular spicy curry, or pushing yourself to the spice-limits with an aggressively spicy salsa, spicy food abounds here in NC, as do those who love it. Many people enjoy famous NC barbecue (eastern or western style???) with hot sauce like Texas Pete or Valentina. Spicy food is everywhere, and therefore we often are asked questions by our patients about the effects of spicy food on your teeth.


So, is spicy food bad for your teeth?

The answer in general is no, there is nothing about spicy food in general that is bad for your teeth. That means you don’t have to feel guilty about munching on some spicy buffalo hot wings at Heavenly Buffaloes after leaving your appointment at our dentist office in Durham. Although some spicy food may be so hot that you would swear your tongue and teeth were burning or melting, the capsaicin that gives the food its spice is not explicitly harmful for your teeth. In fact, the capsaicin in hot peppers can actually function as a pain reliever.


While spicy food, and the capsaicin that gives it the hot spice you crave, are not explicitly bad for your teeth, that does not mean you should not be cautious. For example, spicy foods can cause acid reflux in many people, which can erode tooth enamel. Your teeth are very sensitive to acidity, and the stomach acid that comes up thanks to acid reflux is very acidic and dangerous to your teeth. If you know that spicy food causes acid reflux for you, it may be wise to avoid spicy food when possible.


Some spicy foods also contain ingredients which can stain or discolor your teeth. For example, a lot of types of curry contain Turmeric. While part of what makes curry delicious, turmeric can stain or discolor your teeth if you eat it too often. This doesn’t mean you can’t eat turmeric at all, as it does have some possible health benefits. However, if you want to keep your teeth as white as possible, it might be best to limit how much turmeric is in your diet.


Have questions about what foods can damage or stain your teeth? Feel free to contact us here online or speak to one of our dentists at your next appointment about what foods are good and bad for your dental health.


Have dental questions or in need of a checkup? Visit us here at Lane & Associates!

We are proud to provide dental services to patients and members of the Lane family in the Triangle, Triad, and throughout North Carolina. If you are in need of dental services like teeth whitening, x-rays, wisdom teeth removal, or just a routine dental checkup, contact us here online or request an appointment with a member of our team. We can’t wait to make you smile!