9 Foods to Avoid for Healthy Teeth

Everyone likes to watch what they eat, whether it be for themselves or their children. But did you know that what you eat also has an effect on the health of your teeth? 

Certain foods can help feed the bacteria responsible for developing plaque or stains on your teeth. In contrast, other foods can break down your gums and tooth structure as enamel deteriorates when sugars or starch mix with the plaque. 

Here are 5 foods and drinks to avoid for healthy teeth and good oral health:

1. Soda

Although a very popular beverage among children, soda can cause serious problems for the health of your teeth. The sugar in the drink sits on your teeth and erodes tooth enamel. This erosion can cause tooth decay and cavities, and the chances are higher the more soda you drink! 

Soda also contains acidic byproducts, in addition to the sugars, that can wear away and soften tooth enamel, leaving them vulnerable to plaque buildup and erosion.

soda is one of the best foods to avoid for healthy teeth

2. Citrus fruits and juices

Fruit juices eat away at tooth enamel. Learn more at Snodgrass and King

Citrus is loaded with citric acid, which is the number one cause of enamel erosion and tooth decay. Acids found in fruits and fruit juices can cause cavities through erosion of your teeth. Different studies have shown that the acids found in fruit juices can be very harmful to your teeth. 

Researchers at the Eastman Institute for Oral Health discovered that drinking orange juice decreased the hardness of tooth enamel by 84%! Tufts Now also says that lemon and lime juices contain acid that is almost as corrosive as battery acid.

3. Coffee

The number one effect that coffee has on your teeth is that it creates surface stains. These stains can be hard to remove naturally, and certain whitening techniques can damage the enamel of your teeth, leaving them more prone to erosion and plaque buildup. 

Depending on the type of coffee, and the amount of sugar you add, the drink can also contribute to the creation of acids in your mouth that will lead to tooth decay. In addition to tooth damage concerns, coffee can also lead to bad breath as it sticks to the tongue.

Avoid drinking coffee for healthy teeth

4. Candy

Avoid eating candy because it gets stuck in your teeth and can cause cavities

Lollipops, mints, and other hard candies expose teeth to sugar over a long period of time. Most of us like to chew on hard candies as well, which is something that can cause chips in teeth or even cracks, leaving a surface for plaque to buildup. 

Candy is loaded with sugar, which will combine with bacteria in your mouth to create acids and contribute to serious tooth decay. Sticky and chewy candies can also be a problem as they will get stuck in the crevices and spaces between your teeth. This prolonged exposure can also contribute to the formation of cavities and tooth decay.

5. Starch-Based Products

Starch-based products like potato chips, bread, and crackers are bad for your teeth. These products are often times lodged in between your teeth, allowing the food particles to linger and give plaque-causing bacteria something to hold on to. Chips, bread, and other starch-based products can sometimes have as much sugar as candy. 

The carbohydrates break down into simple sugars once you’ve eaten them, and these sugars will hang around your mouth after the starchy snack has been broken down. Then, just like with sugary drinks, bacteria feed off of the sugars and eat away at your teeth.

You should avoid eating starchy foods like donuts and potato chips in order to keep your teeth healthy

6. Alcohol

Avoid drinking alcohol for healthy teeth

Everyone knows that the consumption of alcohol is not particularly healthy. However, many people simply forget or don’t even realize that a side effect of consuming alcohol is a dried-out mouth. When your mouth is dried-out, you lack the necessary saliva to maintain adequate oral health. 

Saliva helps keep your mouth saturated which prevents food build-up and rinses away leftover food particles. In addition, saliva contains proteins and minerals that preserve tooth enamel and defend against oral infections, gum disease, and tooth decay.

7. Chewing Ice

I know right? Who would have thought that ice should be a food to avoid when supporting oral health? Although ice is only made up of water and keeps your drink cool, it is not healthy to chew on. 

Frequently chewing on ice can lead to damaged enamel and increase the risk of cracked, chipped, or broken teeth, as well as, loosening existing crowns. Additionally, further problems like tooth sensitivity and compromised fillings can arise from regularly chewing on ice. 

Dr Snodgrass recommends not chewing on ice in order to keep your teeth healthy and prevent damage to fillings

8. Sports Drinks

Sports drinks are bad for your oral health because they have high levels of sugar and salt

Sports drinks advertise performance to athletes and because of this, people believe that sports drinks are entirely healthy. Although sports drinks can replenish electrolytes and prevent dehydration, they can also damage overall oral health. Much like sodas, sports drinks contain many sugars and acidic byproducts that will erode tooth enamel.

9. Sticky Dried Fruits

Dried fruits like raisins, dried apricots, plantains, and fruit leather can be a very healthy snack in a well-balanced diet, but the stickiness of these snacks is not good for your teeth. 

Oftentimes these sticky and chewy snacks can get jammed in between your teeth making it difficult for saliva to wash it away. This results in a sugar-loving bacterium that can eat away at your teeth. This is why brushing and flossing your teeth regularly is so important.

Dried fruits can get stuck in your teeth and cause cavities

Conclusion: Knowing The Right Foods for Healthy Teeth

Here are some tips from the team at Snodgrass-King to help you keep your teeth healthy for life!

  • Eat acidic and sugary foods as part of a meal instead of on their own
  • Contrary to popular belief, brushing right after you eat acidic food can speed up wear on your teeth because your enamel is already soft from the acid. Whenever you have an acidic food or beverage, rinse your mouth with water to remove some of the residue left behind.
  • Limit snacking on sugary and acidic foods
  • Use fluoride toothpaste to help repair enamel and reduce tooth decay and erosion
  • Try to use a straw when drinking coffee, wine, or soda.
  • Remember to drink plenty of water and use oral hydration solutions or mouthwash to maintain a hydrated mouth.
  • Ice can be used to cool down a drink but refrain from chewing on it. Instead, you can opt for a chilled drink with no ice. 
  • Water and coconut water are healthy alternatives to beverages with high levels of sugar and acidic byproducts.
  • Floss every night in order to remove any lodged food or dental plaque that has built up in between your teeth. 

Finally, keeping a good routine can help you avoid these foods, especially during the summer.

Visit Snodgrass and King Dentistry for Healthy Teeth

For quality dental care in the Greater Nashville Area, come visit Snodgrass-King Dentistry. We have offices in Davidson County, Williamson County, as well as in Murfreesboro! We’re both a pediatric dentistry practice, but we also see adults!

Contact us today to schedule your next dentist appointment!