Karen J Harris, DMD & Associates

Foods That Can Damage Your Oral Health

Foods That Can Damage Your Oral Health

Processed foods, sugary foods, and hard candy can all wreak havoc on your oral health. Even healthy foods, when eaten in excess, can contribute to cavities. Drinking beverages high in acid, such as soda, wine, and citrus fruits, can also cause tooth erosion. Here are some foods and beverages that can damage your smile.

Sugary foods

Bacteria in our mouths feed on sugar, producing acids that damage our tooth enamel. When you eat or drink something high in sugar, the bacteria in your mouth produce acid. This damages your enamel and causes tooth decay. Avoid eating or drinking foods that are high in added sugar. This includes soft drinks, fruit drinks, sports drinks, juice/fruit punch blends, energy drinks, sweetened ice tea, sweet coffee drinks, breakfast pastries, and candy.

If you do eat these sugary foods and beverages, try to do so as part of a meal rather than as a snack. Saliva production increases in our mouth when we eat, which helps protect our teeth from decay caused by plaque and sugars.

Soft drinks

Soft drinks are one of the worst things you can put in your teeth. The sugar content alone is dangerous for your teeth, but the acid content in soft drinks is even worse. The acid eats away at your enamel and causes demineralization, making your teeth more prone to decay.

If you are drinking any kind of soft drink or soda, stop! If you can't completely stop, use a straw when drinking it to minimize direct contact with the liquid with your teeth. If you do drink soda or other carbonated beverages on a regular basis, it's a good idea to swish your mouth with water. Brushing and flossing regularly can also help to keep the effects of soda on your teeth to a minimum.


Wine is one of the worst offenders when it comes to dental health because it contains chromogens that stain the teeth. In addition, it contains acid that erodes the enamel on the teeth. If you do choose to indulge in wine, then wait at least twenty minutes to brush your teeth afterward. The longer period of time will allow the acidity of the wine to dissipate from your mouth. Drinking water will help flush the wine through your system more quickly. Better yet, drink water in between glasses of wine in order to help neutralize its effect.

Sports drinks

After an intense workout or game, sports drinks and energy drinks can help replenish your electrolytes and give you a boost of energy. Unfortunately, the sugar content in sports drinks and energy drinks is extremely high, meaning that your teeth are in danger when consuming these beverages regularly. The sugar in these beverages also feeds oral bacteria, which can contribute to cavities and bad breath. Try substituting sports drinks for water instead – you can flavor it with lime slices or cucumbers to add a little flair to your drink!

Citrus fruits and juices

Many people have citrus fruits in their daily diet for a variety of health reasons. However, acidic foods and beverages can do a lot of damage to your teeth, causing tooth erosion or wearing down your enamel. When teeth become too porous, it allows bacteria invade the sensitive tissues and cause decay. Although lemons and other citruses aren't the worst offenders when it comes to acidity, they can still cause negative effects on your oral health when consumed in excess. 

Dried fruits

The chewy texture of dried fruit makes it a favorite snack among children and adults alike. Unfortunately, this sweet and sticky treat can wreak havoc on your teeth. Like any other food, it can stick to teeth after consumption, possibly causing more damage than if it were consumed in its liquid form. For instance, raisins are a popular dried fruit that sticks to teeth and causes damage to oral tissues when consumed in excess. When eaten in moderation, however, you can enjoy the nutritional benefits of these tasty treats without harming your oral health.

The Connection Between Diet and Oral Health

Maintaining good oral health goes beyond just brushing and flossing; it also involves paying attention to what we eat. Our diet plays a significant role in the overall health of our teeth and gums.

Foods high in sugar and acidity can contribute to tooth decay and erosion. Sodas, candies, and acidic fruits can wear down enamel over time, leading to cavities and sensitivity.

On the other hand, incorporating nutrient-rich foods like leafy greens, dairy products, and crunchy vegetables can help strengthen teeth and prevent gum disease. Calcium-rich foods are especially beneficial for maintaining strong teeth.

It's essential to strike a balance between enjoying treats occasionally and prioritizing nutritious options for overall oral health. Making mindful food choices can go a long way in preserving your smile for years to come. Contact our dentist in St. Louis, MO, to learn more!

Healthy Alternatives for Maintaining Good Oral Health

When it comes to maintaining good oral health, making smart choices about what you eat is key. Instead of reaching for sugary snacks and acidic drinks that can harm your teeth, our dentist in St. Louis, MO, wants you to opt for healthier alternatives that can benefit your overall well-being.

Swap out processed sweets for naturally sweet fruits like apples or strawberries. These options not only satisfy your cravings but also provide essential vitamins and minerals that promote dental health.

Instead of sipping on sodas or energy drinks loaded with sugar, choose water or herbal teas. Staying hydrated is crucial for saliva production, which helps wash away food particles and bacteria in your mouth.

Snack on crunchy vegetables like carrots or celery. Not only are they low in sugar, but their texture can also help remove plaque from your teeth as you chew.

Incorporating these healthy alternatives into your diet with good dental hygiene in St. Louis, MO, can go a long way in supporting your oral health. Remember, small changes can lead to significant improvements over time!

Get in touch with our office, Karen J Harris & Associates, at 2000 Locust, St. Louis, MO 63103, or call (314) 231-4893 to learn more. Our team will be happy to have you here!


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