7 Healthy Foods That Are Bad for Your Teeth

I don’t know how I’ve lucked out thus far, but I’ve been extremely lucky in the tooth department. I’ve never had a cavity—knock on wood. I’m assuming that I earned a lot of tooth karma suffering through braces for a whopping five years, so I’m hoping to remain cavity-free for the foreseeable future.

While I have a lot of good oral health habits like brushing regularly and flossing that should help keep my chompers chomping, I’ve got other habits that won’t help, like eating healthy foods. Yep, while you’re doing your body tons of good by eating certain healthy foods, they can take their toll on your teeth.

I recently asked Dr. Joseph Banker, a dentist and member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, a few questions about the healthy foods that can be bad for your teeth—and what makes them harmful. He shared a list with me of the worst tooth-offenders, because even healthy foods can damage teeth with prolonged exposure, as acids can eat away at tooth enamel and sugars are converted to acids by oral bacteria.

Check to see if any of your favorite foods are bad for your dental health—and find out how to minimize their negative effects on your grin!

  • 7 Healthy Foods That Are Bad For Your Teeth 1 of 8

    Which of your favorite healthy foods may be damaging your teeth? Click through to find out!

  • Citrus Fruits 2 of 8

    Fruit, especially citrus, are a big culprit, Dr. Banker says. "Many are acidic and full of sugar, and their stringy fibers can actually get lodged between teeth, causing further exposure." After you eat sugary fruits, rinse with some water.


    Photo credit: comingstobrazil, Flickr


  • Dried Fruits 3 of 8

    Dried fruits are even worse for your teeth, according to Banker. They are chewy, stick to teeth and have the same amount of sugar as they had before they were dried. "The only difference between the sugar in fresh fruit and in dried fruit is that the sugar in dried fruit is just more concentrated."


    If you eat dried fruits, it is really best to brush afterwards. That is the only way to quickly get them out of the grooves.


    Photo credit: AwayWeGo210, Flickr

  • Juice 4 of 8

    Juices, especially citrus juices like orange and grapefruit, are also acidic and full of sugar. Some actually have the same amount of sugar as soda, Banker says, so moderation is key. "You can enjoy your juice, just don't sip it all day long! Constantly bathing your teeth in acid and sugar doesn't allow your saliva to wash it away and neutralize the acids."


    Photo credit: Geoff Peters 604, Flickr

  • Sports Drinks 5 of 8

    Many sports drinks are marketed as "healthy," but they are also packed with sugar. Skip the sugar-filled sports drink and grab a bottle of water, says Banker. If you want the best of both worlds, get a bottle of water enriched with electrolytes.


    Photo credit: iStockphoto

  • Chewable Vitamins 6 of 8

    Chewable vitamins seem like a good idea, Banker says, but the reason they taste so good is because they are usually full of sugar. "While you're chewing they can get stuck in the grooves of teeth, creating a great environment for bacteria to develop a cavity." Opt for non-chewable vitamins: you can swallow the pill and get the same benefits.


    Photo credit: iStockphoto

  • Red Wine 7 of 8

    Wine has been reported to have heart-healthy benefits, but its acidity can erode tooth enamel. To avoid long-term damage, dentists recommend brushing within an hour of drinking wine. If brushing isn't possible, sip on a glass of water to dilute everything in the mouth and significantly reduce the potential for decay, Banker says.


    Photo credit: desegura89, Flickr

  • Milk 8 of 8

    Milk does a body good with its calcium, but the natural sugar lactose can coat teeth and cause cavities. It's this reason pediatricians recommend that children don't go to bed with bottles—and why adults should make sure they have time to brush after drinking milk before hitting the hay.


    Photo credit: iStockphoto

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Read more of Erin’s writing at Fit Bottomed Girls and Fit Bottomed Mamas.
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