Foods That Can Damage Your Oral Health

Foods That Can Damage Your Oral Health

Posted by Forrest Noelck Jan 23, 2023

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Oral health plays an important role in your overall health. Poor oral hygiene can make gum disease and tooth decay more likely. Tooth decay and gum disease can cause pain and infections. They can even affect other parts of your body. Here are a few foods that can damage your oral health. 

Sugary Foods

All types of sugars are bad for your teeth because they feed the bacteria in your mouth, which feed on sugar and create an acid that wears away at your tooth enamel. Some foods that are worse for your teeth include sticky candies, lollipops, lemon drops, hard candies, caramels, jelly beans, Skittles, gummy bears, licorice, and other chewy sweets. Be sure to brush your teeth or rinse your mouth out with water after eating any of these items so the sugar doesn’t stay on your teeth and does additional damage.

Hard Candy

Hard candy has a habit of getting stuck in your teeth or between other teeth. Plus, natural sugars are bad for oral bacteria, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. The safest option is to choose sugar-free candies that dissolve quickly and don’t stick to your teeth.

Soft Drinks

There are many negative effects of drinking soft drinks on your oral health. A common mistake that people make is drinking these beverages frequently throughout the day rather than limiting them to once or twice a day as recommended. Lemon-lime Sodas are particularly bad for your teeth because of the citric acid. Citric acid breaks down the enamel that protects your teeth from the acids of the drinks. The tooth becomes susceptible to stains and decay. If you do drink soda, use a straw to minimize the contact it has with your teeth. If you must have it, try to limit it to once a week or less. Try to avoid other acidic drinks such as sports drinks and energy drinks as well. These drinks include chemicals that can break down your enamel over time.

Coffee and Tea

Caffeinated beverages are some of the worst offenders for your oral health. Both coffee and tea contain tannins that can stain your teeth and cause plaque buildup. These beverages are also acidic, which makes them damaging to your enamel. If you must drink coffee or black tea, you should drink them in moderation and always use a straw.

The sugar in soda has similar effects to sugar in your diet from other foods – it feeds the bacteria on your teeth and gums and produces acid that damages your enamel. This can cause tooth decay and cavities. It can also be bad for your overall health and is high in calories. It’s best to consume these drinks in moderation. 


Alcohol consumption is not only bad for your overall health but your oral health as well. This is because alcohol has high sugar content and dries your mouth out, causing dry mouth. A dry mouth makes it harder for you to fight bacteria in your mouth, which may lead to cavities or gum disease. Many alcoholic drinks are also acidic, which can cause erosion of the enamel on your teeth. The sugars in alcoholic beverages can also linger and sit on your teeth for long periods of time, which can also be harmful to teeth. Your saliva is your body’s natural defense against tooth decay. When you drink alcohol, your natural production of saliva is reduced, making your mouth a breeding ground for bacteria and increasing your risk of tooth decay.

Sports Drinks

There are over 50 brands of sports drinks on the market, all claiming to be the best beverage choice for athletes. While it’s true that sports drinks can help replenish electrolytes after excessive sweating and dehydration, they are far from the best choice for your oral health. In fact, some studies show that sports drinks may be just as bad for your teeth as soda! 

The main ingredient in a majority of sports drinks is sugar—lots of it. The added sugars in sports drinks stick to tooth enamel just like table sugar and lead to tooth decay. When you add the acidic nature of most sports drinks to the problem, you have one huge recipe for cavities. Though sports drinks do contain other important elements like calcium, they also contain potentially harmful acids which can wear down your enamel over time. And drinking sports drinks regularly instead of water can be harmful for other reasons as well. Most sports drinks are very high in mineral phosphorous, which is important for a healthy nervous system and bone development. But too much phosphorus can also contribute to developing gum disease and may even increase your risk of bone disease. 

Please visit our dental practice at 551 E. Plaza Circle STE. C, Litchfield Park, AZ 85340, to schedule a consultation with our dentists. You can also call us at (623) 935-1155 or book your appointment online.

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