Healthy and Unhealthy Foods That Cause Tooth Decay


​While you might try to keep your mouth healthy by eating fruits and vegetables, there are some foods that, while healthy, can promote tooth decay. And of course there are plenty of foods that are unhealthy and detrimental to your oral health.

Foods That Are Bad for You

A lot of foods that are bad for teeth are no-brainers – they promote enamel deterioration and gum disease. The ones that might spring to mind are foods that are full of sugar, such as sweets like chocolate or gummies. Hard candy like a sucker or a Jolly Rancher are especially bad, as they could potentially chip your teeth and cause an emergency visit to your dentist.

There are also starchy foods, like potato chips, that are prone to get stuck in between your teeth as well as causing acids that help break down your food but also cause damage to the protective enamel of your teeth.

Breads are also dangerous for your overall oral health. When eaten, bread becomes a pasty, gummy substance that gets stuck on and between your teeth. Also, when the acid breaks down the bread in your mouth, it transforms that starch into sugar, causing additional damage to your teeth.

Sodas are one of the most obvious promoters of tooth decay and gum deterioration. The amount of sugar in a soda attacks the enamel of your teeth, potentially leading to tooth loss and other oral diseases.

Lastly, there are foods that cause your mouth to become like a desert, such as alcohol. The mineral-rich saliva that helps promote enamel renewal takes a hit, leading to tooth decay.

What About Healthy Foods?

If you think eating healthy fruits and vegetables means you’re taking care of your oral health, think again!

Some foods, like tomatoes or citrus fruits, can erode the protective enamel that acts like a shield over your teeth. By consuming a large amount of acid-based foods, you could be landing yourself in the dentist chair.

Finally, foods that are rich in natural sugars, like bananas, could lead to tooth decay as well. A banana contains fructose, glucose and sucrose, all sugars that cause tooth deterioration.

Popcorn can also be bad for your teeth, due to the potential to chip a tooth on an unpopped kernel.

Thus, whether you are reaching for a banana or the candy jar, be sure to keep certain foods in mind for the health of your smile. Who knows – you could be avoiding dentist visits by eating the right foods!

Interested in learning more about which foods to avoid to promote oral health? Call 724-220-2347 to schedule an appointment today!

Dr. Alexandra S. George

Medically reviewed by Dr. Alexandra S. George - D.D.S., L.Vl.I.F. on March 9th, 2020