Seven of the worst foods for your teeth

Fruits, rice, bread? Which foods are bad for your teeth?

Most of us know that sugar is bad for our teeth, but sugary substances aren’t the only offenders. So if you want to keep your pearly whites looking their best, there are several foods to avoid. And some of them just might surprise you…

1. Red wine.

Fond of a vino or two? Unfortunately, alcohol can dry out your mouth, leading to a decrease in saliva production and an increase in bacteria (which may explain why you have bad breath after a big night). Red wine, in particular, can also stain and discolour teeth, so it’s best you don’t overindulge if you’re concerned about damaging your teeth.

2. Coffee.

You might think avoiding sugar in your coffee will help to protect your teeth, but coffee can stain your teeth if you drink it too frequently. And as well as the stains, the acids in coffee can erode your tooth enamel, leading to weakened teeth and more susceptibility to cavities.

3. Sports drinks.

While sports drinks are often associated with health and fitness, in reality, they’re loaded with sugar. To protect your teeth, opt for low sugar or sugar-free versions or just stick to water.

4. Bread, pasta, rice and potatoes.

Believe it or not, starches can be just as bad for your teeth as lollies. Simple carbohydrates like pasta and bread made from white flour break down into simple sugars that can stick to your teeth and feed bacteria.

5. Ice.

Crunching down on anything hard can damage your teeth, especially if they are already weakened by root canal treatments or fillings. If you’re keen to avoid an expensive trip to the dentist, it’s a good idea to steer clear of anything hard like ice, unpopped popcorn or olive pips.

6. Citrus fruit.

While they might have some health benefits, citrus fruits are very acidic, and acidic foods and drinks can make your teeth more prone to decay. For example, lemon juice contains acid which irritates gums and softens tooth enamel. Low acidity fruits like apples, berries and peaches are a good substitute and won’t damage your teeth in the same way as citrus fruit.

7. Dried fruit.

It may sound healthy but dried fruit is full of sugar, and it’s also sticky, so it stays in close contact with teeth for a prolonged period. This is a double whammy that feeds harmful bacteria on your teeth for longer, increasing the likelihood of damage.

For most of us, it is not realistic to completely avoid all foods that may be bad for our teeth. And you shouldn’t have to either. Just make sure that if you do eat certain foods like bread or dried fruit, or if you have a cup of coffee, you brush your teeth, floss and use mouthwash – sooner rather than later.

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