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The Worst Foods for Teeth: A Top 10 Countdown, 2023

Maintaining good oral health is critical. It helps keep your teeth and gums strong and healthy and improves overall well-being. 

Most of us know that sugary foods and beverages harm teeth. Still, there are several other foods that we regularly consume that could also lead to dental problems. 

This blog post will discuss the top 10 worst foods for teeth, which you should avoid or consume in moderation to maintain optimal oral health. From acidic fruits to sticky candies, we'll dive into the details and uncover how certain foods can lead to cavities, tooth decay, and other dental issues.

The Top 10 Worst Foods For Teeth 

Starting from 10 and counting down, here are the top 10 worst foods for teeth.

10. Ice

While ice can be refreshing on a hot day, ice can damage your teeth due to its hard texture. Chewing on ice can lead to broken, chipped, or cracked teeth and damaged enamel (1). 

To protect your teeth, avoid chewing ice and choose healthier options instead.

9. Citrus Fruit

Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C and other nutrients that benefit your health. However, their high acidity can erode tooth enamel, leading to dental problems (1). 

Avoid over-consumption of lemons, limes, and grapefruits to protect your teeth (2). 


8. Pickled Foods

Pickled foods are tasty but can harm your teeth. The acidic solution used in pickling can damage enamel over time (3). 

To protect your teeth, limit your intake and drink water after eating. Pairing pickled foods with low-acidic options like cheese can also help reduce their effects on your teeth.

7. Coffee

Coffee is a double-edged sword when it comes to your pearly whites. Unfortunately, it makes our "worst list" for teeth because of its natural acidity that erodes tooth enamel over time (3).

However, it does contain antioxidants that combat inflammation and harmful bacteria linked to cavities. 

Unfortunately, adding creamers and sugar to your coffee is just as bad as consuming sugary drinks. Thus, if you want to enjoy a coffee and protect your teeth simultaneously, your best bet is to opt for black coffee.

6. Alcohol

It's probably not surprising to learn that alcohol can damage your teeth. By reducing saliva, alcohol increases plaque damage. 

Additionally, beer and wine are acidic, wearing down the enamel (1). 

Limiting alcohol consumption can protect your teeth and overall health.


5. Chips

Chips are tasty but not tooth-friendly. They're high in sugar and carbs, which feed plaque-causing bacteria. Plus, they get stuck in your teeth, providing more opportunities for plaque buildup (4).

Opt for crunchy vegetables like carrots or celery to satisfy your craving for something crunchy. Your teeth will thank you!

4. Sports Drinks and Juice Boxes

Sports drinks and juice boxes can harm teeth due to their high sugar and acidity levels that can erode tooth enamel. Artificial dyes in sports drinks also stain teeth over time (4). 

Juice boxes may be small, but they contain a lot of sugar and acid. Therefore, limit consumption to a maximum of one or two per day. 

Replacing these drinks with water or low-sugar juices is a healthier alternative. Drinking water afterward is recommended to rinse any remaining acid, and brushing with fluoride toothpaste can prevent tooth decay from sugary liquids.

3. White bread and refined starchy foods

Refined starchy foods, like white bread and potato chips, can harm teeth due to their quick fermentation by bacteria in the mouth, producing acid that erodes enamel and increases the risk of cavities. They're also linked to an increased cavity risk in children and adults (1, 3). 

Limit consumption to a few times weekly and drink plenty of water or low-sugar beverages. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste after eating is an additional way to protect teeth from decay caused by their high sugar content.

2. Hard and Chewy Candies

Hard and chewy candies are a major culprit in damaging your teeth due to their high sugar content that feeds bacteria and their tendency to stick to your teeth. This prolongs plaque production and increases the likelihood of damage and decay. 

Sour candies, which are even more acidic, worsen the effect. 

Opt for healthier snacks or indulge in these treats in moderation. For example, an apple is a much better alternative when craving something sweet.

1. Soda, Diet Soda, and Carbonated Drinks

Soda, diet soda, carbonated, and sugary drinks can harm teeth due to their high sugar content and acidity, which damages enamel-protecting teeth. Additionally, these drinks impair saliva's cleansing and protective abilities, increasing the risk of damage (1). 

Healthy alternatives like water, tea, coconut water, sparkling water, or kombucha can refresh your thirst while minimizing harm. 

If you must indulge, drinking through a straw reduces contact with teeth (4). 


In conclusion, being mindful of our foods is essential for optimal oral health. 

Avoiding or consuming in moderation the top 10 worst foods for teeth, which we've discussed in this blog post, can help prevent cavities, tooth decay, and other dental issues. 

That being said, remember to visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and check-ups to maintain optimal dental health. 

If you're due for a cleaning, schedule an appointment with Greentree Dental today! Our team of experienced dentists and hygienists will ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy and happy.


1. Beautifulsmiles.org: The 10 Worst Foods for Your Teeth

2. Live Science: The Best and Worst Foods for Teeth

3. Health.com: 4 Foods to Eat and 9 Foods to Avoid for Healthy Teeth\

4. Dentistry Online: The Top 7 Best and Worst Foods for Teeth

5. University of Rochester Medical Center: The Best and Worst Foods for Your Teeth

6. Signature Smile: The Best and Worst Foods for Your Teeth

7. University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Dentistry: The Best Foods for a Healthy Smile and Whole Body

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