The Worst Foods for Your Teeth

Foods Your Teeth Want You to Avoid

We all know by now that brushing and flossing is the best way to keep your teeth healthy and clean.  Something we might not know, however, is that our day to day food choices can affect the health of our teeth.

Soft Drinks

Some people call it soda, some call it pop, but regardless of what we name it, these drinks are acidic and extremely high in sugar, and are known to be two of the most significant causes of tooth decay.  Even if you switch to sugar free soda, your teeth are still being bathed in the acid contained in the drink.  Other drinks just like soda that are equally bad for your teeth are sports drinks and sweetened tea.  The majority of people in the United States drink these drinks daily, either at meals or during workouts, or continuously throughout the day.  The sugars and acid then sit on your teeth until you brush them, which can be hours later, and that causes your tooth enamel to soften, leading to cavities.

A huge problem with these types of drinks is the fact that Americans are drinking more and more on a daily basis, which is one of the main reasons this made the list of worst foods for your teeth. Some teens drink up to 12 soft drinks a day! From children to adults, the consumption of soda has increased dramatically over the years – and the companies that produce these drinks are enjoying every minute of it.  They increase the size but keep the prices low so you purchase more and more, an astounding fact that many people overlook.  A large soda in the 1950s was only 6.5 ounces.  Compare that to a large soda today, which can get up to 20 ounces!  Even the food portions have increased!


Even if our bodies might grow used to drinking and eating more and more sugary drinks and foods daily, our teeth still take a big hit.  In fact, the health risks to our bodies and teeth from soda are so severe, health authorities are starting to sound the alarm.

Better Alternatives

What can you substitute for soda and other sugary drinks?  The answer is extremely simple.  Beverages that contain little or no sugar or acid, such as water, milk or juices that are 100% juice.  Drink them yourself to set a good example for your children and others in your household.

If you do have a sugary, acidic drink, make sure you brush your teeth immediately with fluoride toothpaste immediately after consuming it.


You hear it all of your life, from childhood on: candy will rot your teeth.  It’s true!  Like soft drinks, candy is one of the worst foods for your teeth.  Most candies are filled with sugar which, again, causes tooth enamel damage and leads to cavities.

Sour Candy

The worst type of candy for your teeth is the sour kind.  Not only are they packed with sugar, but they also have extremely high amounts of citric acids, malic acids and fumeric acids, all of which also do damage to your tooth enamel.


Hard Candy

Hard candies are some of the worst foods for your teeth because to eat them, you have to hold them in  your mouth until they dissolve.  The longer they stay in your mouth, the more exposure your teeth have to the acids and sugars that destroy your enamel.

Chewy Candy

These types of candies are just as bad as hard and sour candies, but can be even worse as – since they are sticky – they stay on your teeth much longer.

Better Alternatives

Simply cutting out or cutting down the amount of candy you eat is the best and easiest solution.  If you do eat some candy, be sure to brush your teeth and floss right after you do, and rinse with water before and after.  Chewing sugar free gum afterwards also helps.


Ah, coffee.  That little pick-me-up tens of thousands of people need in the early mornings.  Yes, coffee will help perk you up when you are feeling sleepy, but it is, in fact, one of the worst foods for your teeth.


Most importantly – and this is something not widely known – coffee is highly acidic.  Bacteria love acidic environments, and by drinking coffee (along with soda and eating candy) you are creating a very happy place for that bacteria to live.  Bacteria also produce waste, which is also acidic.

In addition, coffee will also stain your teeth, just like all dark liquids and foods (click here for a list of foods and drinks that will stain your teeth).  This stain can be prevented by brushing after each cup.  However, if you do not have access to a toothbrush or toothpaste and cannot bring one with you from home, this can be difficult.  Stains can be removed after they have appeared.  The majority can be removed at your regular cleaning and checkup here at Affiliated Dentists.  You can also try whitening if that doesn’t get your teeth as white as you were hoping.  We offer different types, so contact us today to schedule a whitening consult!

Better Alternatives

Unfortunately, coffee contains caffeine, which is addictive for most people.  It is difficult for many to just stop drinking coffee altogether.  Decreasing the amount you drink immediately is a good start, and decrease it further from then on until you no longer need coffee at all.  In the meantime, always brush your teeth and floss right after each cup.  Also chew gum or use mints that are 100% sweetened with xylitol.

Citrus Fruits

Just like sour candy, any sour food contains a high level of citric acid, something that has around the same pH level of the acid in your stomach!  Eating citrus fruits immediately exposes your teeth to that acid, causing your enamel to erode.  Oranges, lemons and grapefruits are good examples of citrus fruits.

Better Alternatives

This one is tricky, as many citrus fruits are actually quite healthy for you.  Avoiding them is not recommended.  When eating the fruits, brush your teeth afterwards.  If you are drinking orange juice, grapefruit juice, or any other juice that is made from a citrus fruit, do so through a straw and brush afterwards.

Related Articles

Mission of Mercy

The Wisconsin Dental Association, WDA, was established in 1870 with the idea to advance the interests of WDA members and the dental profession by promoting

Read More »