10 Surprising Foods That Might Damage Your Teeth and Gums

Top tips to protect your teeth and gums against snacks with hidden dangers.

Everyone knows that brushing twice a day for two minutes and avoiding too much sugar is essential for having healthy teeth and gums. Did you know though that certain foods are more likely to cause tooth chips, enamel damage and cavity causing plaque to form? Take a look at these 9 foods that may cause damage to your teeth.

1. Citrus

While citrus fruits are a great source of nutrients including a hefty dose of Vitamin C, they also have a high acid content. Acid can strip tooth enamel, leading to sensitivity and making your teeth vulnerable to decay. So the next time you devour an orange, lemon or grapefruit, be sure to rinse with water straight after to help wash away the acidic residue. Cantaloupe (rockmelon) is a great source of Vitamin C, but is not very acidic, so it’s a good tooth friendly alternative to citrus fruits.

2. Wine

White and red wines are both acidic, and can lead to tooth erosion – particularly if you are drinking for an extended period of time. And red wine can cause discolouration and staining of the teeth.

3. Potato chips

After eating potato chips it’s easy for the particles to become trapped in between your teeth. The high starch content turns to sugar and feeds the acid-producing bacteria that leads to plaque. If you want to indulge, make sure you floss afterwards to remove trapped chip particles.

4. Dried fruit

High in non-soluble cellulose fibre and sugar, sticky dried fruits can easily cling to your teeth, leaving lots of sugar stuck in your mouth. Swap for fresh fruit and brush and floss after eating.

dried fruits

5. Lollies

Chewy lollies can get stuck in between your teeth allowing decay-causing plaque to build up; while sucking on hard lollies means acid-forming sugars are in your mouth for longer. Try to avoid or limit the intake of sugar-filled lollies, and if you’re craving a sweet treat, try a piece of dark chocolate instead.

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6. Cocktails

Having a glass of water in between drinks does more than just try to ward off a hangover. Saliva helps to wash away food particles, prevents food from sticking to your teeth and can help to repair early tooth decay and gum disease. When you drink, alcohol dries out your mouth meaning you lose the protective benefits of saliva. Plus, the high sugar content in fruit juices and cocktail mixers can lead to cavities.


7. Bread

Refined carbohydrates like those found in white bread contain simple sugars that are quickly broken down by saliva when you chew, increasing your risk of tooth decay.

8. Popcorn

Biting un-popped kernels can break teeth and damage fillings, braces or dentures, leaving new cracks and crevices that are susceptible to bacteria and decay.

9. Carbonated drinks

All carbonated drinks, including the diet varieties, are terrible for your teeth. They are high in sugar (up to 10 teaspoons in a single can of soft drink), and are often highly acidic, leading to tooth erosion (even the diet drinks).

How to look after your teeth and gums

Your gums are just as important as your teeth, and it is essential to look after your gums to prevent gum disease and potential linked heart problems. Eating vegetable sticks, particularly celery, will help massage the gums whilst also cleaning between the teeth when chomped on. High sugar content feeds enamel-eroding bacteria. Be sure to brush after eating to remove residue. Try using the new Oral B GENIUS 8000 Toothbrush – the intelligent brushing system includes a pressure sensor that alerts you if you're brushing too hard and features position detection technology that expertly guides your brushing by connecting to the Oral-B App on your smartphone for a superior clean.

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