Candy and sugary goodies are not the only foods to avoid or limit in order to keep your teeth healthy. Even a few foods that are ordinarily considered healthy can do serious damage. You don’t have to stop eating them completely, just be aware and exercise a bit of caution when you do consume them.
1. Sour/Sweet Treats
Chewy sour candies are the worst food for your dental health. These tooth-rotters contain sugar and are acidic. Then, as if to add insult to injury, their chewy consistency makes them stick to your teeth, coating them in a sugary acidic mix. The bacteria flourish in the sugary mixture and releases even more acid. Your teeth don’t stand a chance against this destructive combination.
2. Sweet Sugary Treats
Sweet candy is the 2nd worst food for your dental health. Hard candy like lollipops are bad but sticky candies like caramels and toffee are even worse. The sugar in sweet candy sticks to your teeth, feeding bacteria which releases acid. This is a destructive combination that will continue to harm your teeth until you give them a good brushing.
3. Sugary Baked Goods
Cake, cookies, cupcakes and even muffins fall into the 3rd worst category. The sugar in these baked goods can stick to your teeth just like the sugar from candy. The sugar feeds the bacteria which produces acid. The acid erodes your tooth enamel, the bacteria sets in and, next thing you know, you have cavities.
Believe it or not, chips of all types contain sugar. They also contain a lot of starch which sticks to your teeth. After you eat them, that sugary starch feeds bacteria which then releases acid. Your teeth quickly become coated in this destructive combination.
- If you must snack on chips and can’t brush your teeth afterward, give your teeth a good swish with plain water to dislodge the starchy residue.
5. Dried Fruit
While dried fruit and trail mix may seem like a healthy snack choice, that is not actually the case. True, they are better than candy, cupcakes and chips, because they have better nutritional value, but they can still do damage. The problem with dried fruit is that it sticks to your teeth and contains natural sugar which feeds bacteria.
*The Canadian Dental Association recommends that you “Wait at least 20-30 minutes after eating before brushing your teeth.”
6. Citrus Fruit
Fruits like oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes and their juices contain vitamin C but they also contain high amounts of citric acid, which is bad for your teeth. Citric acid actually dissolves tooth enamel, gradually exposing the dentin which results in tooth sensitivity. This can lead to nerve damage and the need for a root canal. Grapefruit and lemon are the worst of the citrus fruits. Oranges are the least harmful.
Tomatoes, tomato juice, tomato sauce and spaghetti sauce are one of the worst foods for your teeth for the same reason as citrus fruits. Tomatoes contain citric acid. Limit your consumption of tomatoes, tomato juice and tomato sauces to meals.
8. Soda Pop and Sports Drinks
Soda pop and sports drinks are double trouble. Those that contain sugar will deposit that sugar on your teeth, providing a favorable environment for bacteria, and they contain acids that work away at the enamel. Even the types made with an artificial sweetener contain acids.
- Health Canada recommends that you “Make water your beverage of choice.”
9. Coffee and Tea
Coffee and tea are right up there on the worst food list. Regular coffee and tea that contain caffeine dry your mouth. This is dangerous because your saliva cleans bacteria and acid from your teeth naturally. Add to that the fact that coffee is also acidic and herbal tea often contains citric acid. When you add sugar to your coffee or tea, you are bathing your teeth in a sugary, acidic fluid that dries your mouth and stains your teeth.