As much as we love candy, we know that sweet stuff is bad for our teeth as it can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. But when it comes to oral health, there are some foods and drinks that dentists consider more of a problem than what’s inside a trick-or-treat bucket.
According to dentist Dr. Kristy Gretzula, “the absolute worst thing” for your teeth is soda and energy drinks. “The high acid breaks down your enamel and then the high sugar content increases cavities on that weakened enamel,” she explains. “Even diet sodas can do damage because they are still acidic.”
These are some of the other foods and drinks dentists warn are terrible for teeth:
- Popcorn - It can cause dental problems, like teeth breaking from accidentally biting on an unpopped kernel. The husks of corn can also get lodged between teeth and gums, which can cause inflammation and infection.
- Kombucha - Known as a healthy drink, it’s also highly acidic, so it can strip enamel, the strong outer protective surface on your teeth. But don’t brush right after drinking kombucha because the acid softens the enamel and then the toothbrush wears away at it. Instead, wait an hour to brush your teeth.
- Lollipops and hard candies - These stay in your mouth longer, so the teeth are exposed to sugar longer.
- Wine - Both red and white wine contain erosive acid that softens your enamel and leaves teeth vulnerable to decay. But red wine also contains tannins, which stain teeth and can dry your mouth out.
- Sweet cocktails - Drinks made with sugary mixers, like vodka and Red Bull and Jack and Coke, can coat your teeth’s surface.
- Coffee - You know how it can stain the inside of your mug, well it can do the same to your teeth. Sipping on water between sips of coffee can help with that, as can swishing water around in your mouth. But wait an hour after drinking coffee before brushing your teeth to help protect them.
- Milk Duds can stick to teeth, taffy and caramels can pull off crowns, while hard candy and chewing ice can crack your teeth.