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The Worst Food and Drinks for Your Teeth

If you vowed to improve your dental care in 2024, Maitland Ave Smile Co. is here to help!

To kick off the new year, let’s review the worst food and drinks for your teeth.

It’s no secret that certain foods are damaging to your oral health. Sugary snacks and beverages cause bacteria to grow in your mouth, which results in tooth decay and cavities as well as increased sensitivity. Acidic foods and drinks, like citrus fruits and alcohol, erode tooth enamel and make teeth more susceptible to harm. Sticky or starchy foods, like potato chips, often get trapped in between teeth, which increases plaque build-up and the risk of gum disease.

With that thought in mind, here are five foods and drinks that negatively impact your dental health:

1. Sour candies

Candy is unhealthy for your mouth, but sour candies deliver a one-two punch: Not only do they contain more and different kinds of acids that are harder on your teeth, but thanks to their chewy texture, they also stick to your teeth for longer. If you need something sweet, grab a bite of chocolate instead!

2. Bread

Yes, you read that right — bread has a negative impact on your oral health! As you chew bread, your saliva breaks down the starches into sugars, creating a gummy paste that sticks to your teeth. It’s better to consume whole wheat varieties that contain less added sugars.

3. Carbonated drinks

Did you know an older study revealed that large quantities of soda damage your teeth as much as using methamphetamine and crack cocaine? Soda enables your teeth to produce more acid and also dries out your mouth (more on that below!). Plus, dark-colored sodas can stain your teeth.

4. Citrus fruits

As we mentioned above, high acidity erodes your teeth enamel — and citrus fruits have a very high acid content! Even squeezing lemon or lime into your water on a regular basis can damage your teeth. To get a natural dose of vitamin C, eat them in moderation and rinse your mouth with water afterwards. 

5. Ice

Chewing on ice — or any other hard substance — can crack your enamel and increase your risk for a dental emergency. If it’s too tempting, opt for chilled water and drinks without ice instead.

To close, let’s take a closer look at energy drinks — the worst food or drink for your teeth according to most dentists. 

Energy drinks combine a high amount of sugar and acid, making them detrimental to your oral health. However, thanks to never-ending to-do lists and the constant need to “go, go, go,” many of us reach for them in hopes of achieving an instant energy boost. 

Popular brands have up to 63 grams of sugar per can — as much as six and a half glazed donuts from Krispy Kreme or thirteen Oreo cookies! Sugar is the main food source for oral bacteria, which metabolizes into acid and erodes tooth enamel. Beyond weakening your teeth, high consumption of sugar also puts you at risk for cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.

Additionally, thanks to the high levels of caffeine in energy drinks, you often experience dry mouth, or xerostomia, after drinking them. Saliva plays a vital role in good oral health: It neutralizes acids and washes away bacteria and food particles. With a dry mouth, you increase your risk of gum disease and tooth decay. 

To better protect your teeth and gums, consider the following three tips:

  1. Brush your teeth every morning and night with a fluoride toothpaste. Floss once daily to remove small particles of food. 
  2. Drink plenty of water! Staying hydrated helps to promote saliva production, which neutralizes acidity.
  3. Visit your dentist for bi-annual check-ups. Professional cleanings remove plaque and tartar build-up. Be sure to discuss any dental concerns at these appointments, as untreated issues often lead to problems that require more complicated and costly treatments. 


Don’t miss our blog post about the eight best foods for a healthy smile!

Call us at 407.834.0330 to schedule your next appointment! Check out our Dental Blog to learn more about topics like restorative dentistry, bad breath, and more.