Foods That Can Damage Your Oral Health

Foods That Can Damage Your Oral Health

Posted by El Paseo Dental Clinic on Jan 4 2023, 10:53 PM

To maintain good oral health, you need to make some dietary changes. Sticking to a healthy diet can help protect your teeth against cavities and gum disease. Listed below are some of the foods you should avoid to maintain good oral health.

Sugary Foods

The bacteria that cause tooth decay feed on sugars in the mouth. When they eat too much sugar, it produces a harmful acidic byproduct that erodes and destroys tooth enamel. What to eat instead? Here are some examples of sugar-free snacks that are better for your teeth: 

  • Cheese cubes or cheese slices. 
  • Nut butter on celery stalks. 
  • String cheese and apple slices. 
  • Air-popped popcorn. 
  • Celery sticks filled with peanut butter. 
  • Cooked carrots dipped in hummus. 

Hard Candy

Hard sweets like lollipops and cough drops are also bad for your teeth. They can break your enamel down and cause decay over time. They also take a long time to dissolve in your mouth, allowing sugar to stay in contact with your teeth and gums for a long period. These candies also contain artificial dyes that can also stain your tooth’s enamel. It is best to avoid eating them altogether if you can. If you can’t totally eliminate them from your diet, try to eat other kinds of sweets instead.

Soft Drinks

Caffeinated soft drinks are one of the worst things you can drink for your teeth. They contain a lot of sugar and acid that can erode the enamel on your teeth, leaving them vulnerable to cavities. Aside from being bad for your teeth, they are also extremely unhealthy for your body as well. Regular consumption of these drinks can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even certain types of cancer. If you are a fan of caffeinated soda, it would be best to switch to a healthier alternative, such as water, iced tea, or fruit juice.

Coffee and Tea

Coffee and tea are some of the biggest offenders for staining teeth because of the dark pigments in coffee and tea. Some studies even show that these beverages can cause more tooth discoloration than cigarettes! Keep in mind that the darker your beverage is, the more it can stain your teeth. If you enjoy drinking coffee or tea, consider switching to lighter versions like lemon water or green tea. You should also brush your teeth after drinking coffee or tea to rinse away those stains before they settle in. 

Alcoholic Beverages

Alcoholic beverages can be highly acidic and contain a high amount of sugar, all of which contribute to tooth decay. These drinks are also very acidic and have cavity-causing properties, which can destroy tooth enamel if consumed frequently or in high amounts. Additionally, alcoholic beverages like beer and wine can stain your teeth over time and can contribute to bad breath. For these reasons, it’s best to limit your consumption of these beverages to no more than one drink a day and avoid drinking them altogether if possible. 

Citrus Fruits and Juices

The acid in citrus fruits and juices can really damage enamel. Even drinking in moderation can cause problems. Also, brushing too soon after consuming acidic foods and beverages can weaken your enamel even more. Brushing right after eating or drinking something acidic can damage the protective enamel surface of your teeth, so wait at least an hour before you brush to allow the enamel to harden again. Remember that once the damage is done, it’s irreversible! Your dentist will be able to tell if you suffer from acid reflux during an examination. Acid reflux can cause damage to your tooth enamel as well as weaken the bone that holds your tooth in place. If your enamel is eroded away by acid reflux, your dentist may recommend a protective fluoride gel treatment to help fortify the enamel and prevent any further erosion from occurring. Fluoride strengthens enamel by repairing any cracks that have formed in the mineral structure of your teeth. Ask your dentist about treatments for damaged enamel on your next visit.


The starch in crackers is made from refined carbohydrates that are easily broken down by bacteria in the mouth into simple sugars that cause tooth decay. Like dried fruits, it can also cause stickiness in your mouth that adheres to your teeth and encourages bacterial growth. Because most crackers also have a high salt content, they can soften tooth enamel.

Snacking between meals is fine, but it’s important to choose a snack that will stimulate saliva production to rinse food particles from your mouth. Eating the right snacks can also protect your teeth against acid attacks that can cause cavities. Save crackers for occasions when you don’t have access to other healthier snack options, and be sure to drink plenty of water following your snack. You can also prepare your own low-fat cracker at home using whole-grain flour and water. These homemade versions will be less processed and better for your oral health.

To learn more about maintaining good oral health, contact El Paseo Dental Clinic at (408) 370-0101 or (510) 750-1654. You can also visit our dental offices located in San Jose and Hayward in California for your dental concerns.

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