Foods That Damage Your Teeth The Most

by Dr. Follette

It will no doubt surprise some of our patients that many of the foods and drinks we love are also among the most damaging to teeth. Dr. Carol E. Follette, a respected Santa Monica dentist with expertise in all facets of oral care, reviews some of the worst offenders.


It’s an incontestable fact that lemons, oranges, and grapefruit are packed with healthy doses of vitamin C. Alas, it’s also a fact that these foods are also packed with enamel-eroding acid that renders teeth vulnerable to cavities and decay. Not only are citrus fruits bad for teeth, they can also exacerbate mouth-sore symptoms. If you enjoy snacking on an orange or adding lemon to your water, our advice is to consume citrus in moderation and rinse your mouth with water right after consuming.

Dried Fruits

Sticking with the fruit theme, the dried versions of the aforementioned foods, as well as figs, prunes, and apricots, also provide health benefits. Acid content is a bit lower in dried fruits, but sugar content is higher, and the fact that dried fruit is sticky means that it lingers on the teeth longer than normal. This gives the sugar time to find its way o to the teeth and into the gums, where it can do damage if left untreated. After consuming dried fruits, our local dentist recommends not just rinsing with water, but brushing and flossing too.


Many of us enjoy an after-work or weekend drink, but few people realize that alcohol actually dries out the mouth. This leaves our mouth short on saliva, which is a key protector of teeth since it washes away food particles and keeps solids and liquids from sticking to teeth and gums. Saliva even helps to prevent gum disease and tooth decay. Thus, when you consume alcohol it’s a smart move to drink water during and after consumption.

Sour Candy

Candy is bad enough for our teeth if not consumed in moderation, but sour candy is especially harmful. That’s because sour candy is chewy, sticky, and chock-full of acids that can do a number on enamel. If you’re not diligent about ridding your mouth of a sour candy’s residue, cavities and tooth decay will likely follow. If you’re looking for a sweet that’s better for your mouth, choose chocolate. It tastes good, goes down quickly, and is easily rinsed away.

Potato Chips

Who doesn’t enjoy tearing open a bag of potato chips from time to time? The problem with chips though is their high starch content, which when trapped between our teeth and gums eventually breaks down into sugar. This sugar is consumed by the bacteria present in plaque, and the combination eats away at teeth.

Carbonated Drinks

Soda pop, even “diet” varieties, is loaded with sugar and acids that not only accelerate cavities and tooth decay, but also can stain and discolor teeth.

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Our family dentist serving Santa Monica uses state-of-the-art dental tools and decades of collective experience to keep your mouth healthy. Make an appointment and visit us for all of your dentistry needs, from cleanings and whitening to veneers and bonding.