March 5, 2015 8:57 pm

Five Healthy Foods that are Bad for Teeth

citrus fruit

We’re all aware of the obvious bad candidates that are not so good for our teeth: the fizzy, sugary, sticky kind of food and drinks that provide a haven for bacteria to hold on to, feed off and produce teeth-eroding acid that leads to decay.

However, hidden dangers lurk everywhere and you may be surprised to find that just because something is good for you, it does not necessarily follow that it is good for your teeth. This doesn’t mean you should avoid these items, but just be aware of the hidden hazards, so you can take appropriate steps to limit any damage.


Citrus fruits include oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes. Rich in vitamin C they maintain collagen which is essential for healthy skin and gums. The problem is that citrus is very acidic, and acid erodes tooth enamel – which won’t grow back. If you are eating citrus foods and/or drinking citrus fruit drinks throughout the day, your enamel will be under constant attack.


Dried fruit is a healthier option than candy for snacking on, giving your body vitamins and anti-oxidants that confectionery just does not. However, all fruit contains natural sugars, and once the water has been expunged, what’s left is highly concentrated with sugar, which is sticky and clings to teeth, trapping those acid-producing bacteria.


You may wonder how bread can be bad for your teeth, but white bread, in particular, as well as potatoes and pasta are all starchy, and the particles are easily lodged in crevices and between teeth. Once you start chewing on them the enzymes in your saliva breakdown the starches and they begin to convert to sugar almost immediately, providing a haven for bacteria.


Nuts are high in healthy fats, proteins and vitamin E, but some whole nuts, particularly almonds, are incredibly hard, and could lead to a fractured tooth if you bite down too hard on them.


Chewable vitamins contain concentrated acid that tends to cling to teeth and sports drinks are also extremely acidic, as well as being full of sugar.


  1. Use a straw when drinking sugary or acidic drinks and aim toward the back of the mouth.
  2. Use water as a mouthwash to clear sugar and acids after drinking or eating.
  3. Brush teeth after consuming sugary or acidic foods, but rinse with water first and wait 20 minutes. Acid softens teeth enamel so you must allow time for your saliva to re-mineralize teeth or brushing could cause further damage.
  4. Eat cheese. It is high in calcium (which is good for strong teeth) and it can help to neutralize harmful acids.
  5. Eat sliced nuts instead of whole nuts, especially in the case of almonds.
  6. Chew on sugar-free gum containing xylitol. This helps to neutralize acids as well as encouraging saliva production which contains proteins and minerals to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, as well as fighting germs and preventing bad breath.

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