3 Healthy Foods That Are Surprisingly Bad For Your Teeth

If you want to maintain healthy teeth, the foods that you should avoid seem obvious. Sticky or hard candies and sugary sodas are the things most commonly associated with tooth decay. If you want to go the extra mile, maybe you also avoid things that may stain your teeth, like coffee and red wine. But the truth is, there are some foods that are usually touted as healthy snacks and treats that may be just as bad for your teeth as a candy bar or a cup of coffee. Take a look at some surprising foods that may be hurting your oral health.


When you're trying to cut calories, lose weight, and avoid fattening snacks, nuts are often recommended as a replacement. Almonds are some of the most popular nuts among dieters and health food enthusiasts. They contain healthy fats that can help keep you feeling full and satisfied longer, and they're full of Vitamin E.

As it turns out, though, almonds are very hard on your teeth – precisely because they're such hard nuts. They create a wedge between your top and bottom teeth when you bite down on them, and because they're so hard, they can fracture your teeth. And even if your teeth don't crack outright, eating whole almonds can weaken them, causing tooth sensitivity and temporal mandibular disorders.

Luckily, there's a simple solution for almond lovers. Choosing sliced or slivered almonds and eating them in moderation can dramatically reduce your chances of a tooth injury – the smaller pieces are far easier for your teeth to handle.

Citrus Fruit

What could be wrong with eating a grapefruit for breakfast or drinking orange juice? These citrus fruits are well known to be good for you, largely because they contain lots of Vitamin C. Unfortunately, they also contain lots of citric acid, a substance which can cause tooth erosion.

When your teeth are repeatedly and continuously exposed to citric acid, the effect is that your tooth enamel will begin to dissolve. This is erosion. Tooth erosion leads to decay, tooth pain and sensitivity, and damage to the nerves of your teeth if not treated in time.

Acid erosion can also be caused by sodas and energy drinks, but unlike sodas and energy drinks, it's probably not a good idea to completely eliminate orange juice and other citrus from your diet. Instead, take steps that will help you minimize the damage from citric acid. Drink your orange juice with a straw to reduce the amount of contact the juice has with your teeth. Swish your mouth out with water for 30 seconds after eating citrus fruit or drinking fruit juice, then pop a piece of sugarless gum in your mouth to stimulate saliva production and further wash the acid from your mouth. Save the citrus fruits and drinks for meal times instead of between meals to reduce the damage to your enamel. If you want something to sip or snack on between meals, choose water to drink and snack on cheese, which raises the pH level in your mouth, neutralizing acids.

Dried Fruit

Dried fruit is a popular substitute for candy, and a nice addition to hot cereals and baked goods that need a touch of something sweet. They're also an important component of trail mix. What's not to love about raisins, dried apricots, and dehydrated apple slices? Kids and adults both love them, and they're a healthy solution to a sweet tooth that's begging for sugar.

However, dried fruits have a very high sugar concentration, and they also tend to be sticky. They may be healthier for your body, but for your teeth, they aren't much different than the sugary jelly candies that cling to the teeth after eating and cause cavities. You're better off with fresh apples and grapes that contain water and aren't as high in sugar or as likely to stick to your teeth. Eat dried fruit in moderation, preferably when you're home and can brush your teeth soon after eating.

The next time that you visit your dentist, take the time to discuss your diet. Your dentist can fill you in on the best and worst foods for your teeth and help you develop a diet that's healthy for your oral health as well as the rest of your body.

For more information, talk with your dentist or visit websites like http://www.desmoines-dentalassociates.com.