5 foods and drinks you didn’t know could be damaging your teeth

By Ella Rossanis

2.5 minutes

29 September 2020

Couple laughing at a coffe shop

When it comes to eating healthy, our teeth don’t typically get a say in the foods we choose–but they should! Some foods may be great for our body, but not so great for our teeth, which means we might need to take a little extra care when eating them. Here are some lesser known offenders:

Fruit

Well, not all fruit. But you do have to take care with the more acidic ones like oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, and even apples. “Fruit acids can erode enamel, making the teeth more vulnerable to wear and sensitivity,” says Specialist Paediatric Dentist, Dr Rebecca Williams. She adds that, “fruit can be high in natural sugars which can lead to tooth decay when snacked on frequently.” This certainly doesn’t mean you should skip the ‘2’ in the ‘Go for 2 & 5’ recommendation, but it might be a good idea to eat those higher acidic fruits with a meal and rinse with water after.

Dried fruit

Often more convenient than fresh fruit, dried fruit might seem like a good snack option, but Dr Williams warns that they’re likely to stick around your teeth longer than they should. “Dried fruit is highly concentrated in sticky sugars that can easily get stuck in the grooves and between the teeth, allowing decay-causing bacteria to grow.” It’s better for your teeth if you eat your fruit fresh and raw followed by a quick rinse with water.

Sugar-free soft drinks

Points given for attempting to consume less sugar unfortunately, sugar-free soft drinks could be just as bad as regular soft-drinks when it comes to the impact on your teeth. Even without the sugar (which we would typically think of as the enemy of our teeth) the acid in these drinks are a problem. Dr Williams cautions, “Soft drinks are extremely acidic and can cause severe erosion.” Aim to have water as your main drink throughout the day.

Sports drinks

You may think you need a sports drink to rehydrate after a run, but you probably don’t. “Unless you’re a high-level athlete, most people don’t actually need the electrolytes from sports drinks,” Dr Williams says. People usually drink them during or after exercise when they’re dehydrated, which, when it comes to teeth health, is the exact time you shouldn’t be drinking them. “When you’re dehydrated, there isn’t enough saliva in your mouth to remineralise and repair your teeth from the sugar and acids in sports drinks.” Dr Williams adds. Plain old water is your best option.

Bottled water

You may be asking yourself, ‘how can water from the purest natural springs of the purest mountains be anything other than wonderful for my teeth?’ While bottled water isn’t technically bad for your teeth, it’s not doing them any favours either. Opt for tap water, which is fluoridated to help strengthen teeth and prevent decay. Plus, it’s cheaper at restaurants.

The good news is that when you’re aware of how certain foods can affect your teeth, it’s not always necessary to cut them from your diet. Adding a routine of post-snack rinsing as well as additional brushing and flossing as needed are good steps towards perfect pearlies.

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Disclaimer

This article contains general information only and does not take into account the health, personal situation or needs of any person. In conjunction with your GP or treating health care professional, please consider whether the information is suitable for you and your personal circumstances.