The Five Worst Foods for Your Teeth

Keeping your smile white and your teeth strong and cavity-free requires not only regular brushing and flossing, but also avoiding (or limiting) certain foods and drinks that lead to stains and enamel loss. In this post, Dr. Ivan F. Stein of Northfield Dental Group lists five of the worst foods for your teeth.

Citrus Fruits

Though citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and grapefruits are full of the immune-boosting vitamin C, they have a less beneficial effect on your teeth. Citrus fruits contain high levels of acid that can erode tooth enamel, which weakens tooth structure and exposes it to decaying influences. And since your enamel doesn’t grow back, the effects are permanent. To prevent this, eat citrus fruits in moderation and flush your mouth out with water afterward to prevent it from building up on your teeth.

Soda and Carbonated Drinks

Not only is most soda — even diet soda — full of sugar, which contributes to cavities, but the carbonation contains citric and phosphoric acid. These acids break down enamel, especially if carbonated beverages are consumed on a regular basis. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the sugar in the beverage combines with the plaque bacteria in your mouth to produce more acids that will erode your enamel further. It is recommended that you avoid or at least significantly limit your intake of these types of drinks, or follow them up with a mouth-cleansing glass of water.

Sour Candy

All types of candy can be added to the list of “no-no’s” when it comes to oral health, but sour candy is especially bad for your teeth. In addition to the high amounts of sugar it contains, sour candy often contains many different kinds of acids (giving it that tangy, sour flavor) that work away at enamel. And brushing your teeth after consuming sour candy has an even harsher effect, as the damaged tooth enamel leaves a vulnerable tooth that is further damaged by toothbrush strokes.


Studies have found that the acid content of both red and white wines have an enamel-eroding effect. And it is no secret that the bluish hue that you observe after one or two glasses of red wine can lead to permanent tooth discoloration over time. But wine isn’t the only culprit: any type of alcohol that is consumed dries out saliva flow, which washes away food particles from the teeth that often lead to bacteria buildup and infection.


Who knew that bread would top the list of worst foods for your teeth? Though bread is soft and easy to chew, the way saliva breaks down the starches in bread causes it to convert to sugar in the mouth. This sugary paste gets stuck in tooth crevices and causes bacteria — and eventually cavities — to form. Other starchy snacks, like pretzels and potato chips, have the same effect.

Want to learn more oral hygiene tips? Or perhaps you’d like a trained professional to take a look at your mouth to make sure your teeth are in working order? Schedule a dental exam at Northfield Dental Group with one of our trained doctors by calling (973) 736-0111 today.