We all strive to keep our pearly whites in great condition. But as we all know, it takes work and dedication to retain our beautiful smiles. By avoiding certain foods and keeping up with brushing, we can also avoid unwanted trips to the dentist. However, when it comes to our teeth we’ve all been told to avoid candy as it can quickly rot our teeth. But as it turns out, there are more foods we should be aware of that can prove to be more harmful than candy! Here are 14 foods dentists say you should avoid.
14. Dried Fruit
“Dried fruit is really like eating candy,” says Stephen J. Stefanac, DDS, professor of oral medicine and periodontics at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. “It has the stickiness and high sugar content.” Which ultimately means that the sugar from dried fruits can get stuck in between your teeth–the perfect formula for cavities. Skip the dried fruit and stick to the fresh kind.
It’s no secret that soda isn’t great for your teeth, as one 12-ounce can of soda contains a shocking 39 grams of sugar–which is equivalent to almost ten teaspoons. However, this isn’t the only issue when it comes to soda’s effects on our teeth. “It’s very acidic,” says Tricia Quartey, DDS, a dentist in Brooklyn, New York. “And acid can break down the enamel.”
Just like with soda, bottled juice can be acidic and can also contain high amounts of sugar. The sugar feeds bacteria in your mouth, which leads to tooth decay. The good thing is that there is a surprising alternative–apple juice. “There’s usually no added sugar in apple juice,” says Tyrone Rodriguez, DDS, director of pediatric dentistry at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Dr. Rodriguez does suggest you water down your apple juice to decrease the natural sugar.
11. Pasta Sauce
Vegetables are considered to be incredibly healthy, as is the case with tomatoes. But these red flavor-filled veggies are also acidic. “Eating tomato sauce with spaghetti doubles the damage to enamel,” says Dr. Quartey. The acid in the sauce can break down the enamel on your teeth, and the carbs in the pasta feed cavity-causing bacteria.
10. Bottled WaterRelated: Bottled Water: One of the Largest Scams in History?
Bottled water? Yes, you read that correctly. Plain water can contain minerals for added flavor that increase acidity. Water can be as acidic as coffee or tea. Distilled water usually indicates that the water is less acidic.
9. Gummy Vitamins
Most people frequently overlook the fact that gummy vitamins and fiber supplements are essentially a piece of candy. They are packed with sugar and are also squishy and sticky, which means they are easily able to get stuck in your teeth and cause cavities. Instead, go for vitamins you can swallow or are at least chewable.
8. Coffee, Tea, Frappé
Caffeine-filled coffee and tea can get you up and going, but they’re no friends to your pearly whites. Both are acidic and diuretic, which means they dry out your mouth. “Saliva is nature’s buffering system to rinse everything,” Dr. Rodriguez explains. “When you run low, you’re more prone to cavities and gum disease.” But what about the frappé? Well, it’s even worse to drink that due to all the added sugar.
7. Apple Cider VinegarRelated: 13 Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
While incredibly popular for its detoxifying properties, you might not account for the high levels of acidic properties in apple cider vinegar that can erode tooth enamel. If you happen to drink apple cider vinegar frequently, try diluting it with water and drink it in one sitting.
6. Flavored Chips
There are a few problems with flavored chips. First, they can cut your gums. Ouch! And not to mention, they are refined carbs, which unfortunately leads to bacteria to feed on. The flavorings can also be highly acidic, and act like sandpaper on your teeth.
5. Cough Drops
As in the case of gummy vitamins, cough drops should also be considered candy. Be sure to lay off the cough drops if you don’t need them.
4. AlcoholRelated: 11 Liver Damage Signs You Can’t Ignore
Refreshing cold beer, relaxing wine and cocktails can be incredibly delicious, but they are also incredibly harmful to your teeth, especially if you like to nurse your drink. Along with carbs in beer that feed bacteria, the carbonation in the drink makes it acidic, which leads to teeth erosion. Wine has more sugar than you might think, but it’s the sugar-filled cocktails you should watch out for.
The hardness of ice is what’s to blame here; chewing on ice can cause you to crack a tooth. “I see that a lot,” says Dr. Stefanac. “We often see it with people who have lots of fillings, which weakens the teeth. They bite on ice and snap off a portion of a tooth.”
2. Energy and Sports Drinks
While their names may sound healthy, energy and sports drinks are filled with sugar and acids. On top of that, the majority of these drinks contain a special sticky substance to keep the coloring evenly distributed in the drink. This means the sugar and acid stay on your teeth longer.
1. YogurtRelated: 11 Flossing Do’s and Don’ts to Protect Your Smile
Yogurt is bad for your teeth? But it’s so healthy! It is if you eat the plain kind. After all, it does contain calcium and probiotics that are good for oral health. The majority of yogurts–even the Greek kind– are packed with sweet fruit purees, which results in large amounts of sugar and acid added to the mix. “You’re almost losing the benefits,” Dr. Rodriguez says.