Which Foods Are Most Harmful to Teeth?

You should know that food is harmful if it helps the bacteria living in your mouth thrive and accumulate. Some foods contribute to the degradation of your tooth enamel. When these foods combine with the bacteria in the mouth to produce acid, the acid affects the structure of the enamel and weakens it, causing cavities.

Common Harmful Foods and Drinks

As a general rule, foods that are sticky and sugary are harmful to the teeth. Since sticky foods tend to cling on the teeth and are harder to clean, they provide bacteria a chance to multiply and damage your teeth.

Acidic foods are also not a good choice because they are likely to harm the tooth enamels. Consuming meals and drinks that are sugary and acidic, such as soda, creates more trouble for the teeth.

While some of the foods listed below are not entirely bad for the health, like dried fruit, dental experts recommend brushing, flushing or rinsing after consuming them to prevent tooth decay.


Popcorn can easily get trapped between the teeth and encourage the growth of bacteria. You need to be cautious because crunchy parts can break or crack the teeth, and the sharp hulls can cut the gums, causing bleeding.

Hard Candy

These treats sit in the mouth for extended periods as their sugary content slowly dissolves. Candies can take about 10 minutes to dissolve and typically have no health benefits. You need to be wary of possible dental emergencies such as cracks or cuts in the oral cavity that could be irritated or infected by candy.

Soft drinks

Beverages, such as sports drinks, are harmful to the teeth if they are consumed extensively. You should generally avoid diet sodas because what they lack in sugar, they make up for in acidity.


Dry mouth is a phenomenon after drinking alcohol because it reduces the production of natural saliva. Saliva helps to clean the mouth of food particles and shields the teeth against acid. Alcohol also inflames the soft tissues inside the mouth.


Oranges, limes, tomatoes and lemons have high acid content and can increase the risk of tooth decay if consumed alone. When cooked with food, they provide significant nutritional value. You can eat them, but do not forget to rinse your mouth afterward to neutralize the acid.

Dehydrated fruits

While dried fruits generally have more nutritional value than processed fruit snacks, they also tend to be sticky with high sugar. Similar to candy, you want to prevent long periods of food sitting on teeth.

Potato chips

Foods high in starch, such as potato chips, white bread and corn chips, get stuck between the teeth and eventually bind with bacteria.

Peanut Butter and Jam

Peanut butter is sticky and usually contains sugar. To reduce complications, consider getting natural peanut butter without sugar. Jam also has high sugar content; this includes the 100% natural brands.

Coffee and Tea

These primarily stain your teeth with an unappealing tint of brownness. If you add sugar, they can make the teeth sticky for other food particles. Try to drink water after your morning coffee.

For optimal dental health, completely remove foods and drinks that can harm the teeth. You should also visit the dentist regularly for check-ups.

Have questions about what is harmful to teeth? Call (203) 426-0500 today to reach Pleasant Dental.

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