If you’re a lover of spicy foods, you know how much just a little (or a lot!) of spice can elevate the flavors of a dish. However, as much as your taste buds may adore spicy foods, the same is not always true for your teeth. With just a few simple precautionary steps, you can enjoy spicy foods without worrying about negative effects on your bright smile.

3 Ways That Spicy Bites Can Hurt Pearly Whites

Spicy foods in themselves are not automatically cause for concern. Rather, what you need to watch out for is the ingredients contained in some spicy foods and these common issues they can cause.


Staining can be an unfortunate side effect of eating too much spicy food. Dark hot sauce can cause discoloration over time, while turmeric can lead to yellow staining in some situations. If you notice some minor staining due to these ingredients, using a gentle whitener can be a quick and easy fix. If the discoloration gets more extreme, it’s a good idea to see a dental professional.

Tooth Decay

In order to achieve the enjoyable flavors of spicy dishes, there are often high amounts of hidden sugars used. Too much sugar can feed the bacteria in your mouth, especially with stickier foods and sauces that stay on your teeth for longer. This increases the acidity inside your mouth and raises your risk of tooth decay. Some hot sauces even include highly acidic components like vinegar, tomato, and lemon.

To avoid this, pay close attention to the ingredient list of the condiments that you purchase. Additionally, be sure to rinse your mouth with water after eating foods that might leave behind a residue. Do not brush your teeth immediately, though, because this will spread the acid.


Those who suffer from past tooth decay or receding gum lines can suffer discomfort when eating spicy foods because of how tender their mouths are. These individuals can experience great irritation caused by the incredible heat and acidity of some spicy foods. Spicy foods can also aggravate acid reflux for some people, which is bad news for both your stomach and your teeth.

The smartest choice in this case is to lower consumption of spicy foods and to opt for a milder heat level when you do indulge.

How To Enjoy Spice Safely

By no means is it necessary to take spice off the menu. Instead, try to enjoy your spicy dishes in moderation. Just like how binging on an entire bag of candy would be much worse for your teeth than eating a few pieces at a time, having spicy food every single day is going to be more harmful to your teeth than just choosing it every now and then.

One of the best things you can do when you give into your spicy cravings is practice proper dental hygiene. For instance, don’t fall asleep on spicy wing night without first giving your teeth a thorough brush.

Need More Spice Advice? Come See Us!

If you’re concerned that your teeth have sustained damage or discoloration from spicy foods or anything else, don’t hesitate to pay us a visit to get a checkup and ask any questions. We can fix up any issues you’ve experienced and help you prevent future problems so your smile stays bright and white.

Schedule your dental appointment with our Long Beach dental team and Dr. Stephen Coates today!