Worst Foods for Your Teeth

Worst Foods for Your Teeth
Posted on 08/24/2018

Worst Foods for Your Teeth

No one likes to be told what they can or can not eat. But based on a variety of health concerns, doctors sometimes do just that. For example, if you have high cholesterol, you may have to cut back on saturated fats. If you celiac disease, you will need to move to a gluten-free diet. But did you ever think about what foods are best to avoid if you want to maintain great oral health? Your Charleston dentists care about you and your family’s well-being. And that starts with taking great care of your teeth. While brushing and flossing are key to reducing cavities and gum disease, choosing healthy foods, and staying away from unhealthy ones, is important, too.

What Foods Should I Stay Away From?

The dentists at Smith Family Dentistry in Charleston, WV, have compiled a list of foods to avoid in order to maintain healthy teeth. Some may be obvious, but others may surprise you.

Candy - Both Sticky & Sour

Just like your parents probably told you growing up, candy is bad for your teeth. The high amounts of sugar cause cavities by mixing with your saliva to form bacteria which can turn into plaque. Be especially wary of candy that is sticky and/or sour. Sticky candy can get stuck in between your teeth, making it more difficult to remove with brushing. It can also cause problems with any fillings or other dental work you may have had. This includes dried fruits like the ones you find in trail mix. You may be surprised the sour candy has been singled out. That’s because sour candy contains higher levels of acids which can destroy your tooth enamel leaving your teeth unprotected from harmful plaque. If you do indulge in sweets on occasion, be sure to rinse your mouth immediately after and then brush and floss well that evening.

White Bread

Who would have thought that having toast or your favorite sandwich might be bad for your teeth? The culprit here is the starch that’s prevalent in white bread. When your saliva mixes with starches it turns into a sugary paste that more easily sticks to your teeth and can cause tooth decay. Opt for whole wheat bread instead that is more difficult to break down and has less added sugars.

Citrus Fruits & Juices

Charleston, WV has some of the best fresh fruits. But the dentists at Smith Family Dentistry caution that some fruits and juices, while beneficial in providing nutrients like vitamin C, are not so great for your oral health. The acid content in fruits like grapefruit, oranges and lemons can eat away at the enamel coating that protects your teeth making them more susceptible to decay. That same acid can give you mouth sores as well. If you’re eating citrus fruit from a can, the dangers are even greater. Besides the acid in the fruit, they are often packed in a heavy syrup full of extra sugar. Be sure to drink plenty of plain water and these fruits at mealtime with a teeth-brushing afterward.

Potato Chips

These tasty snacks can be a detriment on two levels. First, like the bread mentioned above, potato chips are full of starch that can develop that same sugary paste on your teeth. But there’s more. When you crunch up your favorite chip, bits and pieces of the chip can easily get stuck between your teeth. Always floss carefully after eating chips to remove those food particles and the dangers that sugar can bring.


Water is great, so how could frozen water not be good for your teeth? Unfortunately, most of us don’t just suck on an ice cube, we like to chomp it up. That’s the danger to your teeth. Chewing on hard ice can damage your enamel and increase the possibility of chipped, cracked or broken teeth. It can also damage dental work you have already had like crowns. Choose chilled water without ice to eliminate this potential danger.

Carbonated Sodas

Unless we’re living under a rock somewhere, most of us know that carbonated drinks like soda pop are not good for our health - even the diet ones. But carbonated drinks can wreak havoc specifically of your oral health. They not only contain high levels of sugar that turn into enamel-attacking acids, they have a high acid content in their own right for a double whammy to your teeth. Add to this the fact that dark sodas can discolor or stain your teeth. And, the caffeine in some carbonated drinks can also reduce the amount of saliva in your mouth. Best practice is to drink water along with and after any carbonated favorites to lessen these negative effects.

Sports Drinks

It’s all about the sugar. While you may believe your drinking a “healthy” energy or sport drink to counteract your busy, athletic schedule, many of these beverages contain a high sugar content. Check the label on your favorite sports and energy drink and stay away from the ones with high sugar content. Better yet, drink water instead.

Alcoholic Beverages

We mentioned caffeine causing a lack of saliva above and heavy drinking of alcoholic beverages does this in a big way. Why is a dry mouth a big deal? Your teeth need saliva to stay healthy. Saliva keeps food from sticking to your teeth and helps wash away the food particles. It also can reverse the effects of early tooth decay, gum disease and other oral infections. Drink plenty of water and use fluoride rinses to keep your mouth hydrated and healthy.

Get Great Oral Health Care At Smith Family Dentistry

If you’d like more tips on how to take great care of your teeth, give your Charleston dentist a call at Smith Family Dentistry. Our experienced and skilled dentists are the best in the Charleston area and truly care about their patients’ oral health. From regular checkups and filling cavities, to cosmetic dentistry and dental implants, you’ll find Smith Family Dentistry a welcome home for everyone in the family. Make your appointment today by calling 304-343-9131 or by completing our online appointment form. We look forward to serving you soon!