Foods That Can Damage Your Oral Health And Smile

Posted by Brittany Southeast Family Dental Jan 20,2023

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Eating habits are an important part of maintaining good oral health. You need to consume a balanced diet that contains essential vitamins and minerals for maintaining good oral health. While certain foods are good for your oral health, there are certain foods that can cause harm to your teeth. Listed below are some of the worst foods for oral health.

Sugary Foods

When consumed in excess, sugar can disrupt tooth enamel and cause tooth decay. Sugary foods include cookies, cakes, pies, doughnuts, and many other treats. Additionally, most breakfast cereals contain large amounts of sugar. Fructose, in particular, breaks through the protective outer layer of the teeth, making them more susceptible to decay. To protect your smile, limit your consumption of these foods. If you must indulge, brush your teeth after consuming and floss your teeth daily.

Hard Candies

Hard candies can be extremely harmful to your teeth and gums because they contain large amounts of sugar. The sugar combines with the bacteria in your mouth and produces acid that destroys your tooth enamel. This damage can lead to tooth decay and even tooth loss over time. So, be cautious of the amount of hard candy you eat and how often you eat it. Sugars and acids in sour gummy candies can also erode the protective enamel on your teeth and lead to cavities. It is best to enjoy these treats in moderation.

Soft Drinks

Sugary drinks are some of the worst for your oral health. Soda contains phosphoric and citric acids that wear down tooth enamel like sandpaper. Even diet sodas are not great for your health as they still contain acids that can dissolve the protective minerals on your teeth. Diet sodas will also increase your risk of developing cavities when used frequently.

In addition to damaging tooth enamel, sugar in soft drinks causes your mouth to become acidic, which can then cause decay. As if that wasn’t enough, soda also contains caffeine which has been linked to an increase in dry mouth symptoms. A dry mouth can increase your risk of tooth decay as saliva is necessary to wash away food particles and bacteria after eating. Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners found in diet sodas may cause health issues as well, such as migraines, headaches, weight gain, and even cancer.

While it may be hard to completely cut soda out of your diet, it’s best to limit it to one per day and try to drink it all in one sitting. You should also rinse with water after drinking as much soda as possible and chew sugar-free gum to stimulate the production of saliva.

Coffee and Tea

These two drinks contain tannins which can damage tooth enamel and make your teeth more susceptible to staining. They also increase the risk of cavities because they generate plaque buildup. To keep tea and coffee from harming your smile, try drinking water or milk after drinking these beverages. You can also drink them through a straw to reduce the amount of liquid that hits your tooth enamel.


Your favorite glass of wine isn’t necessarily good for your smile; in fact, red wine can be one of the worst beverages for your oral health! In addition to staining teeth, it also contains tannins which can damage tooth enamel by demineralizing the hard tissue that makes up your teeth. Tannins in wine can also dry out your mouth, which causes bacteria to thrive and leads to increased tooth decay. Lastly, alcohol found in wine can irritate the soft tissue inside your mouth and cause oral cancer. If you enjoy a glass of wine or two with dinner, it is beneficial to rinse out your mouth with water after drinking your beverage. This will help rid your mouth of excess sugars and acid while also washing away additional plaque from your teeth and gums.

Sports Drinks

Sports drinks contain a lot of sugar. In fact, some of them have more sugar than soda! The sugars in sports drinks are harmful to the teeth because the bacteria in your mouth feed off them and produce acid that wears down the enamel of the teeth and ultimately leads to cavities. Additionally, the acidic nature of sports drinks can erode tooth enamel more quickly than other beverages. If you drink sports drinks, it’s important that you rinse your mouth with water after drinking to wash away the sugars. You may also want to switch to water instead of sports drinks when you are really thirsty. Water is better for your teeth than other drinks because it doesn’t contain any added sugars or acids that can wreak havoc on your oral health.

Citrus Fruits and Juices

Most citrus juices contain sugar and acid that can cause cavities. Drinking too much citrus juice will erode the enamel of your teeth and cause sensitivity in the gums. If you do drink a lot of citrus drinks, rinse your mouth with water right after to help wash away the sugars.

Avoiding all citrus fruits and juices is the safest option if you want to have a healthy smile. Even other fruits that are high in acidity, like strawberries or grapefruit, could lead to tooth decay when eaten in excess. Acidic foods like these will cause erosion of the enamel and lead to sensitivity and cavities over time.

If you have questions about the best ways to care for your smile at home, call our friendly staff at (317) 359-8000 today. We would be happy to schedule you for an appointment at our family dental practice in Indianapolis, IN. We look forward to working with you soon!

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