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10 Foods to Avoid for Healthier Teeth

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Good dental health starts with you! While proper oral care is always top of mind, one important factor in maintaining a healthy smile and strong teeth is the foods you eat. Dairy, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains can all be staples of your daily diet that not only strengthen your body but also give your teeth a boost. 

To get you on track toward optimal oral care in 2024, here’s a peek at some foods that may affect your teeth and why you might want to limit them in your diet.

Your Diet & Your Teeth

We all know that sugar is the arch-nemesis of healthy teeth, but did you know that other seemingly innocent foods can also wreak havoc on your teeth? 

The 10 foods to avoid for healthier teeth include:

1. Sugary drinks like soda, fruit juices, and energy drinks 

2. Candy and other sugary snacks

3. Starchy foods, including potato chips, pretzels, and crackers

4. Processed meats such as bacon and sausage 

5. Ice cubes or hard candy that can crack teeth 

6. Chewy or sticky foods

7. Coffee, tea, and alcohol that can stain teeth 

8. Citrus fruits that are high in acid content  

9. Hard bread like bagels

10. Acidic condiments like tomato sauce or salad dressings

1. Sugary Drinks Like Soda, Fruit Juices, & Energy Drinks

It’s no secret that sugary beverages are tasty, but what impact do they have on our health? The sugar content in beverages, from soda to fruit juices and energy drinks, can be shocking. It’s best to avoid them altogether, as even juice can be hard on your teeth.

Drinking an excessive amount of sugary drinks can lead to several health issues, including tooth decay and cavities

2. Candy & Other Sugary Snacks

Who doesn’t love a sweet treat now and then? Unfortunately, indulging in candy and other sugary snacks can harm your dental health. It’s important to know that excessive sugar consumption can lead to tooth decay and other oral health issues. But this doesn’t mean you have to banish all sweets from your diet. Just be mindful of how often you are consuming sugary treats. 

3. Starchy Foods, including Potato Chips, Pretzels, & Crackers

When it comes to munching on snacks, it’s hard to resist reaching for a bag of potato chips, pretzels, or crackers. However, these starchy foods can take a toll on your teeth. They tend to break down into simple sugars, which can linger in your mouth and feed the bacteria that cause tooth decay. That being said, there’s no need to ditch these snacks altogether. Try to enjoy them in moderation and always remember to brush your teeth after snacking.

4. Processed Meats Such as Bacon & Sausage

When it comes to our diets, we often hear a lot about the negative impact that processed foods can have on our overall health. But did you know that some processed meats, like bacon and sausage, can also be harmful to our teeth? While these tasty treats may be a breakfast staple for many, the high levels of sugar and preservatives in them can contribute to the erosion of tooth enamel over time. 

5. Ice Cubes or Hard Candy That Can Crack Teeth

When we think of cool refreshments, we might picture a cold glass of water or a fizzy soda pop. And what’s better to top off that drink than some ice cubes, right? But did you know that those seemingly harmless cubes could pose a threat to your teeth? The same goes for hard candy- that sweet treat that’s oh-so-satisfying to crunch and chew. Unfortunately, these items can crack your pearly whites or even cause chips. 

A young woman holding her hands up to her face as she's smiling towards the camera

6. Chewy or Sticky Foods 

We all know that sugary treats like caramels and gummy bears are oh-so-delicious, but did you know that they can also harm your teeth? Chewy and sticky foods can be detrimental to your pearly whites. When these sweet treats get stuck to the surface of your teeth, they give bacteria a chance to grow, increasing your risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease

7. Coffee, Tea, & Alcohol That Can Stain Teeth

Maintaining a bright and healthy smile is essential, and one way to achieve this is by avoiding coffee, tea, and alcohol that can stain teeth. While these beverages may be our go-to for a little pick-me-up, they can leave our teeth dull and yellowed over time. Replacing them with healthier options such as water and herbal teas benefits our smile and overall health.

8. Citrus Fruits That Are High in Acid Content

If you’re a fan of sweet and tangy citrus fruits, you might be surprised to learn that they can be harmful to your pearly whites. Fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are high in acid content, which can erode the protective enamel on your teeth over time. Consider drinking water after consuming acidic fruits to help neutralize the acid in your mouth, or switch to eating low-acid fruits like bananas or apples. 

9. Hard Bread Like Bagels

While hard bread like bagels or crusty rolls may be a delicious breakfast or snack option, they may be damaging to your teeth. The tough texture and chewiness of these breads can put excessive strain on your teeth and gums, which can lead to tooth fractures, chips, or even more severe dental issues over time. Try softer pieces of bread or cutting up hard bread into smaller pieces can help protect your teeth and keep your smile shining bright. 

10. Acidic Condiments Like Tomato Sauce or Salad Dressings

We all know the importance of a healthy smile, but did you know the acidic condiments we love could be behind your tooth troubles? Tomato sauce or salad dressings may taste delicious, but they can be hard on your teeth. The acid in these condiments can weaken your enamel, making your teeth more susceptible to cavities and sensitivity. 

Keep Your Teeth Healthy with Upper Gage Dental Centre

While a healthy diet is beneficial for overall health, it is also essential to maintain proper oral hygiene habits, including twice-yearly dental cleanings with an experienced dentist. Our team at Upper Gage Dental Centre would love to help you keep your teeth looking their best! 

We strive to provide the absolute best in customer service and have tools in place to make every process as streamlined and stress-free as possible. Contact us today to book an appointment so you can show off that stunning smile you’ve been working so hard on!

Written by Dr. Matthew Rydant

Dr. Matthew Rydant graduated from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry in 2006. That same year, he entered into private practice at Upper Gage Dental Centre.

Dr. Rydant is a general dentist who enjoys all aspects of dentistry, particularly cosmetic, family, and pediatric dentistry. If he had to choose a favourite treatment, he’d pick endodontics, more commonly known as root canals. He thrives on providing quality care in a trusting environment.

Dr. Rydant and Dr. Judith Kivinen are married with 3 children: Hazel, Noam, and Jemma. When he’s not working, you may find him on the local golf course or indulging in some delectable food.

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