While there are some things that we eat, such as candy. That we know are bad for our teeth, there are many other foods which can be just as damaging.  Many of these foods are considered “healthy” and part of a balanced diet.

Citrus fruits and juices contain citric acid, which can erode enamel-the white covering of your teeth.  Some citrus fruits are less acidic than others.   In a 2008 study that involved soaking pulled teeth in various citrus juices, lemon and grapefruit juice caused the most damage. Orange juice caused the least.

Worst Foods for Teeth | Family Dentist in Minnesota - Anoka Dental, MN

Chewy candy Stick to the surface of your tooth and stay there for a long time.  Bacteria eat the sugar and produce acid that erodes your teeth.  The sticker the candy, the longer it stays on your teeth.  Sour chewy candy, such as gummy worms, contain citric acid to create the sour taste.

Hard candies dissolve slowly.  As they dissolve, they coat your teeth with sugar and give bacteria much more time to produce corrosive acid. Sour hard candies, like sour chewy candy, contain citric acid.  Citric acid combines with the corrosive acid produced by bacteria to be even more harmful.  If you chew your hard candy, a broken tooth is always a real possibility.

Pickles are produced by soaking cucumbers in salt and vinegar.  Vinegar is highly acidic, and a potential hazard to tooth enamel.   In 2004, researchers studied the eating habits teenagers and found that pickles were the solid food most closely linked with tooth wear. Eating them more than once a day increased the odds of wear by about 85 %.

Carbonated, sports, and energy drinks, both sugar-free and regular. While sugar gives bacteria food, it’s actually the acid in these drinks erodes enamel.   In 2008, researchers at the University of Iowa measured enamel wear after steeping teeth in several different beverages for 25 hours. Lemon-lime Gatorade resulted in the most wear, followed by Red Bull, Coke, and Diet Coke.

Crackers aren’t sugary, don’t contain acid, and don’t stain teeth, so people are often surprised to learn that crackers and chips can be dangerous to your teeth.  Snacks like crackers, chips, and pretzels become soft and sticky when exposed to saliva.  The refined carbohydrates in savory snacks quickly break down into sugar.  This results in the same environment caused by eating chewy candy.

Wine, both red and white, contains acid that erodes enamel.  Both red and white wine allow your teeth to absorb stains from other foods.  If you drink white wine, then have a cup of tea, the white wine will allow the tea to stain your teeth even more.

Tannic acid is found in drinks like red wine, coffee, and black tea.  These drinks will stain your teeth, and they also make your teeth sticky.  Sticky teeth attract more food particles and bacteria. Tannins also tend to dry out your mouth, which means your levels of protective saliva are reduced.  Coffee stains are often more difficult to get rid of than tobacco stains, and tannins cause your teeth to become stained more easily after whitening treatments.

Most dentists agree that moderation is the key when consuming these foods.  Your enamel should be fine if you brush, or at least rinse after you consume them.