Top 10 Foods That Damage Your Teeth

Most of us know that sugary snacks can rot our teeth, but it is not just candy bars and gum that are teeth-damaging. Foods like bagels, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, tomato sauce, and even some “healthy” cereals contain mouth-drying acids that can harm tooth enamel over time.

The following list summarizes the top ten foods that damage teeth. Read on to find out!

1. Bagels

A plain bagel or one slathered in cream cheese can strip away about 20% of tooth enamel per day. The culprit is l acetic acid, which is found in all forms of vinegar, including balsamic salad dressing and certain sodas.

Combined with sticky carbohydrates — the kind in bagels, french toast, pancakes, and syrup — these acids create a plaque that can lead to tooth decay.

2. Oranges, Lemon, and Grapefruit

The citric acid in citrus fruits is only one of the enamel-eroding acids they contain. Citrus also contains salivary enzymes that dissolve the glue holding your enamel together, leading to sensitivity.

If your sensitivity becomes severe, you should visit the best dental clinic in your area.

3. Tomato Sauce

This common food is surprisingly acidic. In fact, tomato sauce ranked higher on the pH scale than any other food in a study by University of Southern California scientists.

The researchers also found that low-pH foods cause more damage to teeth when consumed alone or combined with carbohydrates.

4. Fizzy Drinks and Energy Drinks

Carbonated beverages — even “healthy” fruit juices — can erode tooth enamel because they contain phosphoric acid.

Phosphoric acid has an even greater potential to destroy tooth enamel than citric acid does since it dissolves calcium faster than other acids.

5. Alcohol

Alcohol has been found to cause tooth erosion for two reasons. First, it contains sugar, which bacteria thrive on and convert into acid that attacks your enamel.

Second, alcohol dehydrates you, which means there is less saliva in your mouth to wash away cavity-causing bacteria and food particles.

6. Cereal

Some breakfast cereals contain large amounts of phytic acid  (aka phytates). Phytic acid binds with calcium, preventing it from being incorporated into teeth as they develop. That can lead to weakened tooth enamel as an adult.

To avoid this problem, read nutrition labels carefully and opt for cereals made from 100% whole grains, which are low in acid and will not harm teeth.

7. Soda

cans of sodas

Soda is one of the worst foods for your teeth. Regular soda contains large amounts of sugar, which means it is a source of food for cavity-causing bacteria.

It also contains phosphoric acid, which can dissolve tooth enamel. Diet soda may be even more harmful to our health since it often has other chemicals that negatively impact the body.

8. Pretzels

Pretzels are essentially tiny bagels, so they should be avoided by people who want their tooth enamel to remain strong and healthy.

In addition to containing the same carbohydrate ingredients as bagels, pretzels also contain acids that can strip away tooth enamel.

9. Ice and Ice cream

Biting down on ice can cause acute tooth damage. Eating ice also increases your risk of developing a crack in the enamel of one (or more) of your teeth, which can lead to severe pain and swelling.

Since ice and ice cream also contain sugars (and other mouth-drying ingredients like flavorings), they are even worse for your teeth than candy bars.

10. Chocolate and Sugar-Free Chewing Gum

Both chocolate and sugar-free gum contain fermentable carbohydrates that bacteria thrive upon. This can lead to cavities. It is even worse for people who don’t brush their teeth after consuming fermentable carbs since the leftover food becomes the plaque that contains acid as well as bacterial byproducts such as volatile sulfur compounds, which stink up the mouth and worsen breath, sweetened chewing gum has its own set of problems.

The sugar substitutes in these products cause decay because they are non-fermentable, which means the bacteria that feed on them don’t produce acid. Instead, these chemicals are metabolized by plaque flora into acidic metabolites like catechol, phenol, and hydrogen sulfide, which can erode tooth enamel.

The foods we consume can significantly impact our oral health and well-being. The ten worst foods for your teeth are those that contain acids or sugars that hurt tooth enamel, as well as other ingredients that lead to cavities. If you are looking to improve the strength of your pearly whites, it is best to avoid eating these eight unhealthy food choices. We hope this list has been informative and helped you learn which foods should be avoided to keep your mouth healthy!


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