Foods That Can Damage Your Oral Health

Posted by West Lake Dentistry Jan 19, 2023

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A healthy diet can go a long way in ensuring good oral health. A balanced diet will help improve your body’s immune system, which in turn, will help fight oral diseases. Bad eating habits and an unhealthy diet can take a toll on your oral health. They can cause unnecessary plaque buildup, which can lead to cavities and gum disease. Listed below are some of the worst foods for your oral health:

Sugary Foods

Bacteria thrive on sugars, so consuming sugary foods and beverages on a regular basis contributes to an increased risk of bad breath. In the same way, the bacteria that cause gum disease feed on sugars and produce acids that cause inflammation and irritation in the gums. This can lead to bleeding and inflammation of the gum tissue. Over time, this can lead to periodontal disease, which is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.

Hard Candy

Hard candies are one of the worst things for your oral health since they are so sticky and can stay in your mouth for quite a while after you eat them. This means there are lots of sugar exposures that can damage your teeth and make them more susceptible to cavities.

This is true even if your gum health is in great shape! This is because bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugar from food particles stuck between your teeth and will multiply quickly when exposed to sugar. This can cause plaque to form on the tooth surfaces and lead to gingivitis or gum disease that will damage your gums and bone around your teeth. Cavities can also form on teeth that have plaque and food stuck on them because the acid from the plaque eats away at the tooth enamel over time.

Soft Drinks

Sugary sodas are the worst kind of drink for your oral health. The sugar and acid in soft drinks can erode enamel and cause cavities. It’s best to avoid these types of drinks as much as possible.

Another great way to improve your oral health is to drink more water. Water washes away food particles and bacteria from your mouth, which helps maintain good oral health. You should also avoid drinking acidic beverages such as fruit juices and coffee, as they can wear away the enamel on your teeth. If you absolutely need a drink with sugar in it, make sure to rinse your mouth with water after drinking it to prevent plaque buildup.

Coffee and Tea

As you probably know, both tea and coffee contain caffeine – a substance that can increase the acidity in your mouth. An acidic environment can cause erosion, which means the protective enamel is worn away over time. The tooth’s layer underneath is exposed, which can lead to sensitivity and pain. It is recommended that you drink coffee and tea in moderation and avoid drinking them between meals. Also, rinsing your mouth with water immediately after drinking them is advised.

Similarly to coffee, tea beverages also contain substances that promote tooth decay. They are called tannins which increase the level of plaque in your mouth. Plaque is a sticky substance that contains bacteria that can cause cavities. Drinking teas with sugar increases the risk of decay even more.


Wine is one of the worst beverages for your oral health for a number of reasons. Its high acidity can erode enamel and make teeth sensitive, and its sugar content feeds cavity-causing bacteria.

Drinking red wine can also stain your teeth and cause bad breath. If you are trying to maintain good oral health, avoid wine as much as possible. If you must drink it, make sure you rinse your mouth out with water afterward or brush your teeth.

You should also be careful about drinking alcohol in general. Alcoholic drinks dry out the mouth and make it easier for germs to thrive. This puts you at risk for cavities and other oral health issues. If you do drink alcohol, use a straw to minimize direct contact with the teeth. Also, make sure to drink plenty of water while drinking alcohol to prevent a dry mouth.

Citrus Fruits and Juices

Many people love a good glass of orange juice in the morning or a glass of lemonade on a hot summer day. However, the citric acid in these drinks wears down the tooth enamel and causes tooth sensitivity. The sugar content leads to tooth decay and cavities as well. 

Other acidic foods and drinks to avoid include vinegar, tomatoes, pickles, and sauerkraut. These foods are so acidic that they can cause tooth erosion, decay, and even tooth loss!

Sports Drinks

Sports drinks are another beverage that is bad for oral health. The high acid and sugar content of sports drinks work quickly to cause tooth decay and cavities. Plus, the high amount of carbonation can wear away at the enamel of your teeth. Instead, opt for sparkling water with a slice of fruit for a healthy and refreshing beverage.

To find out more about good oral care habits, call 704-483-1870 or schedule an online consultation. You can also visit us at 298 N. Hwy 16 Suite E, Denver, NC 28037.

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