Hard Candy – While hard candies can seem harmless, eat too many and the constant exposure to sugar can harm your teeth. Hard candies also put your teeth at risk for a broken or chipped tooth. A better alternative is chewing sugarless gum that carries the ADA Seal.
Ice – You’d be surprised at the amount of people that think ice is harmless. It’s made of water and doesn’t contain any sugar or other additives. However, chewing on hard substances can leave your teeth vulnerable to a dental emergency and damage your enamel. Advice: Break the habit and enjoy water in its liquid form.
Citrus – The truth is that frequent exposures to acidic foods can erode enamel, making teeth more susceptible to decay over time. So even though a simple squeeze of a lemon or lime can turn a glass of water into a tasty beverage, it’s not always the best choice for your mouth. Citric fruits and juices can also irritate mouth sores. Make sure to drink plenty of plain water.
Coffee – In their natural form, coffee and tea can be healthy drink choices. Unfortunately too many people can’t resist adding sugar. Caffeinated coffee and tea can also dry out your mouth, and can stain your teeth. If you do choose to consume, make sure to drink plenty of water and try to keep the add-ons to a minimum.
Sticky Foods – Sticky Foods are your mouth’s worst nightmare. When it comes to picking healthy snacks, many people put dried foods at the top of their list. However, many dried foods are sticky, and sticky foods can damage your teeth since they stay on your teeth longer than other types of foods. If you do eat dried foods and trail mix often just be sure to rinse thoroughly with water and brush and floss your teeth carefully.
Crunchy Foods – Who doesn’t love the nice, satisfying crunch of a potato chip? Unfortunately potato chips are filled with starch, which tends to get trapped in your teeth. If you choose to indulge in snacks like these, take extra care when you floss that day to remove all the food particles that can lead to plaque build-up.
Sodas – When you eat sugary foods or sugary drinks for long periods of time, plaque bacteria use that sugar to produce acids that attack your enamel (the hard surface of your tooth). Most soft drinks, including the diet sodas are acidic and therefore, bad for your teeth. These drinks also dry your mouth out. Follow soft drinks with water and that will greatly reduce the effects of the sodas.
Alcohol – Alcohol causes dehydration and dry mouth. People who drink excessively may find their saliva flow is reduced over time, which can lead to tooth decay and other oral infections such as gum disease. Heavy alcohol use also increases your risk for mouth cancer.
Sports Drinks – They sound healthy, don’t they? But for many sports and energy drinks, sugar is a top ingredient. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, while sports drinks can be helpful for young athletes engaged in prolonged, vigorous physical activities, in most cases they are unnecessary. Before your next sip, check the label to make sure your drink of choice is low in sugar. Not sure? Drink water instead!