Did you know that 26% of adults ages 20 to 64 have untreated tooth decay due to eating food that is bad for their teeth?

Tooth decay can affect anyone, no matter their age. The bacteria that feed on the sugars in your diet cause plaque, leading to cavities. 

We all know that eating foods that contain a lot of sugar aren’t good for your teeth. However, there are many bad foods for teeth that may surprise you.

Acidic foods are also a poor choice, as consuming too much overtime introduces acid that can potentially damage your teeth’ enamel. Foods that are both acidic and sugary (such as sodas) can doubly harm your teeth.

These foods aren’t necessarily bad for your health but can lead to plaque, tooth decay, and cavities. Keep reading as we discuss ten foods experts recommend limiting in your diet or at least brushing and flossing after consuming them to prevent damage down the road.

1. Popcorn

Many people enjoy eating popcorn because it’s flavorful and a healthy alternative to potato chips. However, there are a couple of reasons popcorn is bad for your teeth.

Think about when you consume popcorn. Is it during a long movie? If so, as you watch, you give bacteria more time to do its damage to your teeth. Also, have you ever eaten popcorn and not gotten some stuck in your teeth? Always remember to bring a toothpick and water to the movie theater (or couch), and remember to floss when you’re done. 

Unpopped popcorn kernels are also very hard, and they can actually crack your teeth if you bite down on one accidentally. Just take extra care next time you’re eating popcorn by the handful.

2. Ice

As ice only contains water, most people consider it harmless to chew on. However, not so fast. Chewing on a hard substance such as ice can damage your teeth’ enamel, making you more susceptible to dental emergencies such as cracked, chipped, or broken teeth or loosened crowns. 

You can definitely use ice to chill your favorite beverages; just resist the urge to chew on it. Go for drinks without ice or chilled water instead.

3. Soft Drinks

Not only do they contain sugar, but soft drinks have acid in them. As we mentioned earlier, acidic foods can damage your teeth. This damage can lead to cavities and dental erosion. If you want healthier teeth, it’s best to avoid soft drinks altogether. 

As a replacement, try drinking water or unsweetened tea. If you really can’t give up your soda habit, always brush your teeth immediately after drinking one. This can prevent the acid from softening your tooth enamel, making them more vulnerable to abrasion.

4. Dried Fruit

When thinking of wholesome, nutritious foods, you probably think of dried apricots, raisins, and other dehydrated fruits. After all, they’re better than candy, right?

Not exactly. These fruits contain a lot of concentrated sugar due to the dehydration process. The sugar can stick around on your teeth longer because dried fruits have a chewy texture, making them prone to stick to your teeth.

5. Pickled Foods

Pickled foods contain vinegar, which is another food that has acid. Vinegar is essential to the pickling process. The acid in pickled foods can cause erosion of your tooth enamel as well as staining.

On top of the acid content, many pickled foods also have sugar, which will contribute to cavities. 

6. Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits are often included in a healthy diet, but the acid in them can slowly wear away your tooth enamel. Without enamel, your teeth are at risk of more cavities

You shouldn’t avoid citrus fruits altogether, but be mindful of how often you consume them. Limes, lemons, and grapefruit are highly acidic fruits. Always drink fruit juice through a straw, so most acid bypasses your teeth.

7. Wine

Wine—both red and white—also contains erosive acid, which will soften your tooth enamel. In red wine, you’ll find tannins, which are compounds that stain your teeth and dry out your mouth.

If you plan to drink wine, always brush your teeth beforehand to remove some of the plaque that the wine will adhere to. Also, you risk brushing the wine into your teeth if you don’t want until thirty minutes after consuming it to brush.

8. Pasta Sauce

While they’re a healthy source of vitamins, tomatoes are on the list of foods that damage teeth due to a high amount of acid. When you eat pasta sauce made with tomatoes on top of pasta, you’re actually amplifying the damage. The sauce’s acid will break down your teeth, while the carbohydrates in pasta will feed the bacteria that cause cavities.

9. Bread

Yes, even beloved bread can be bad for your teeth. If you’re someone who eats a lot of bread, you may want to work on eliminating it from your diet. Your saliva breaks down the starches in bread into sugar as you chew. 

When you’re chewing this gummy substance, the bread gets lodged in the crevices of your teeth and stays there until you brush, which causes cavities. 

If you’re craving carbohydrates, opt for healthier, less-refined options such as whole wheat. Whole wheat bread contains fewer added sugars and isn’t broken down as easily.

10. Sour Candy

Of course, candy is terrible for your teeth, but sour candy is even worse because of the kinds of acids found within it. The acids in sour candy are tougher on your teeth. Sour candy is typically chewy, so it sticks around on your teeth for longer—which means it is more likely to lead to tooth decay. 

If you’re craving something sweet, opt for a piece of chocolate instead. You can chew it quickly and wash it away easily when you’re done!

Avoid These Bad Foods for Your Teeth for Better Dental Health

Now you know that sugar and acid can be detrimental to your dental health. Consuming food that contains vitamins and minerals, stimulates saliva, neutralizes acids, and repairs tooth enamel will lead to a healthier mouth. Instead of the foods listed above, choose more tooth-friendly snacks like cheeses, vegetables, nuts, and non-acidic fruits.

The purpose of this post wasn’t to discourage you from eating all of the foods you love. Hopefully, as you become more aware of bad foods for your teeth, you’ll adopt the “everything in moderation” mentality when choosing what to eat.

For dental services in Maple Ridge, call Dentistry Thirty Two at 604-380-3200 or request an appointment online.