When it comes to the worst foods for your teeth, the list of items can vary from what would be considered obvious – such as candy – to more surprising examples that include fruits and vegetables. Although a variety of foods that you eat and drink could possibly damage your teeth over time, you can avoid this outcome with proper oral care.

Recognizing Foods that are Bad for Your Teeth


It’s probably no surprise that candy is a major culprit among foods that cause cavities. Whether you’re satisfying your craving for a sweet treat, or combatting a lingering cough with a throat lozenge, you’ll want to brush after eating these foods. When you eat candy, sugar clings to your teeth and combines with the bacteria found in plaque, resulting in tooth decay.

Acidic Fruit and Vegetables

Some foods that are bad for your teeth are actually healthy choices otherwise. Examples of these are oranges, grapefruit, lemons and tomatoes, just to name a few. The acid found in these foods can erode your tooth enamel, and weaken teeth over time. In order to help decrease the effects of citric acid on your teeth, incorporate these foods into a complete meal, or eat them alongside other more neutral foods.


Starches are yet another one of the worst foods for your teeth. In addition to the health risks that accompany a diet high in refined starches, there are also the negative effects that these foods can have on your oral health. Starchy foods, such as bread or potato chips, easily get wedged in and around your teeth. The sugars that are produced when the food particles break down can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria.

Hard Foods

Foods that require a bit of extra exertion to chew are also typically foods that can damage your teeth. Although it may be tempting to chew on the ice at the bottom of a glass or even un-popped kernels at the bottom of your popcorn bag, hard foods could actually break your teeth. This can also be the case for healthy foods such as fresh carrots or corn on the cob. Those with sensitive teeth can opt for diced carrots, or corn that is removed from the cob.

Soft Drinks/Alcohol

Frequently drinking alcoholic beverages may result in dry mouth, which occurs when you do not produce enough saliva. Because saliva helps to cleanse your mouth of food particles and plaque, it is important that you remain well-hydrated throughout the day. Soft drinks are also bad food for teeth because of their high acidity and sugar content. The acid in these drinks erode enamel over time, as well as deposit sugar onto the teeth.

Caring for Your Teeth

One of the most effective ways that you can avoid the damage that some of the worst foods for teeth can cause is to brush your teeth after eating. Because acidic foods weaken your teeth, do not brush immediately after eating foods containing acids; instead, wait about an hour before cleaning your teeth. In addition to at-home care, you should be sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist at least twice a year.

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