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Worst Foods For Teeth: 11 Foods And Drinks To Watch Out For

11 Of The WORST Foods For Your Teeth
funny man furiously brushing...
funny man furiously brushing...

A cold can of pop may satisfy your thirst on a hot day, but it isn't doing any favours for your teeth.

We all know certain foods (especially sugary ones) lead to cavities, but they can also cause pain to people with sensitive teeth. According to a recent study by Sensodyne, one in three Canadians regularly experience tooth pain due to sensitivity and 44 per cent of them aren't always aware of possible long-term effects such as gum disease and tooth decay.

"Often, Canadians will look for ways to manage their sensitivity pain, such as chewing food on one side of the mouth (not good for your jaw muscles) and avoiding the foods that cause pain," says Dr. Uche Odiatu, doctor of dental medicine, based in Toronto. Odiatu says factors such as brushing too hard, teeth grinding and receding gums can also lead to sensitivity.

So how do you reduce sensitivity and get keep your chompers clean? Brush and floss at least two times a day of course, but also look at the type of foods you add to your plate. Certain acidic and sugary foods cause more wear and tear in the long run says Odiatu, who is also a nutrition and wellness consultant.

If you have a tooth sensitivity, certain foods like raw vegetables, hard boiled eggs and pumpkin seeds are all safe for your teeth, thanks to the their low acid and sugar levels, notes the Canadian Dental Association.

Here are some of the worst foods for your teeth, especially for people with tooth sensitivity. While some of these aren't necessarily bad for your health, they may be doing more harm than good if you're not diligent about brushing and flossing afterwards.

LOOK: Odiatu lists 11 of the WORST foods for your chiclets:

Dried Fruit

Worst Foods For Your Teeth

Dried Fruit:

This one might be surprising for some of you. "Dried fruits are very sticky and high in sugar. The sugar gets stuck between teeth and stays there for hours, feeding the bacteria in the mouth, which can cause dental erosion," says Odiatu..


The acid in vinegar, which is essential to the pickling process, wears away at the enamel of your teeth and causes staining.


Sugar creates an acidic environment in your mouth, and over time, that can wear away at your tooth’s enamel.


Red and white wines contain erosive acid, which can soften valuable enamel within five minutes of exposure. The tannins (compounds found in red wine) also dry out the mouth and can stain teeth.


Drinking pop full of sugar often leads to cavities, but it can also lead to tooth erosion. Surprisingly, so does diet pop. "Sugar-free diet sodas also contain citric and phosphoric acid and can erode the enamel when consumed often," he says.

Hard Candies:

Hard candies take a while to dissolve in your mouth and during this time, sugar sticks to your teeth and can cause damage to your enamel. Hard candies that dissolve slowly in your mouth allow bacteria more time to produce acid, which can also damage your chompers.

Chewy Candies:

Chewy candies stick to your teeth for a long time and allow bacteria to feed off the sugars. "Bacteria forms acid with the sugar, which attacks the protective layer of tooth enamel," Odiatu says.

Citrus Fruits:

"Citrus fruit are fine as part of a balanced diet. But you would be surprised to hear how many Canadians have a maladaptive habit of sucking on limes or lemons throughout the day," he says. Citric acid in fruit wears away the tooth enamel which leaves teeth susceptible to cavities.

Fruit Juices:

Acidic fruit juices raise the level of acid in your mouth and over time, this can also eat away at your tooth enamel. Fruit juices, like lime or cranberry, can be just as acidic as vinegar and can wear down the tooth enamel over time, leading to cavities, and sensitive teeth, Odiatu says.

Coffee And Tea:

The darker the beverage, the darker the stain. You may think tea is gentler on your teeth than coffee, but that’s not always the case. "Some black tea may stain your teeth more than coffee. Like red wine, black teas have high tannin content which causes staining."


Refined carbohydrates come in many forms. "There are a growing number of articles in the dental health literature that have related the high consumption of refined carbohydrates to inflammation in the body." Odiatu says. Inflammation is a key player in a number of chronic diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis (inflammation around tissues that support your teeth).

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