8 of the Worst Foods (& Drinks) for Your Teeth

6/26/2015

We’re all well aware that soda pop and sugary drinks can have a negative impact on our teeth, but what you might find surprising is some of the other foods that can do just as much damage. For example, did you know that eating dried fruit and carbs such as bread can also be bad for your teeth? Some surprising, some not, here are the top contenders for “worst food for your mouth”:

Carbonated and Sugary Beverages

The negative effects of these drinks are numerous. They can stain your teeth. The high acidity strips tooth enamel. And the sugar can lead to cavities. Watch out, too, for sugary juices—just because it’s “juice” doesn’t mean it’s good for you. The citrus flavored ones are the worst offenders.

Surprisingly enough, you’re better off chugging your soda than sipping on it for an hour like most do (not that we are recommending doing either). By drinking it slowly, you’re keeping your mouth at a low pH level (acidic) for longer, causing more damage on your enamel.

Dried Fruit

Although you think “fruit” and usually associate it with the word “healthy,” dried fruit in this case is not good for your teeth. It’s very chewy and sticky and has a high content of sugar. Little pieces get stuck to the teeth and become a feeding ground for bacteria.

Chewy Sour Candy

In the same line with dried fruit, sticky candy will attach to your teeth for bacteria to grow on. Candy that is sour is extra damaging because of the added citric acid that eats away at tooth enamel.

Bread, Crackers, & Carbohydrates

Once you start chewing on these foods, your saliva breaks down the starches, converting to sugar in your mouth right away. This easily gets caught between teeth, again creating a feast for bacteria that causes cavities.

Alcohol

While the sugar in alcoholic beverages can be high and detrimental to our teeth, the real issue is that it dries out the mouth over time with excessive intake. This can lead to tooth decay and oral infections such as gum disease.

Ice

Water is great for you in liquid form, but if you have a habit of chewing on ice, we do encourage you to stop. The ice, sure, is sugarless, but it’s hard and not meant to be chewed. The coldness can make your teeth more brittle, and biting into can causes a tooth to break. It can also damage your enamel. Stick to enjoying your water as a beverage—or try sucking on the ice cubes instead.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits are very high in acid which will erode enamel and make your teeth more susceptible to decay with time. A spritz of lemon in your water won’t be extremely damaging—as long as you drink plain water as well—but sucking on a lemon is simply not good for your teeth.

Beets, Berries, & High-Pigmented Food

If it’s going to stain a white piece of cloth, it’s probably going to stain your teeth. Beets and berries have very beautiful colors, but that color can stain; the same goes with kale and Swiss chard and any other food with strong pigments.

Recommendations

We recommend drinking with your meals and every time you have a snack. It usually dislodges food particles and sugars and dilutes residue from dark-colored drinks. If you have a dry mouth, promote saliva by chewing a sugar-free gum between or after meals.

And, of course, make sure to go to your dentist for regularly scheduled cleanings and exams. If you’re looking for a Battle Creek dentist, give us a call at Halonen Family Dentistry at 269-979-3400. We are currently accepting new patients in the Southwest Michigan area and would be happy to set up a first visit to discuss any questions you have, perform any needed x-rays, and complete a comprehensive exam.

Tags: Teeth