When you sit down for a meal, ravenous from a long day, the last thing you think about are your teeth. You’re not worried about damaging your teeth – you just want to fill your belly! You can worry about your teeth later, right? Well, not so fast. The truth is that there are various types of foods and drinks that can be damaging to your teeth. Knowing what some of these are will help you combat their damaging effects with appropriate dental care.

  • Wine – Both red and white wines contain acids that can damage the enamel of your teeth, causing it to soften. Red wines can also stain your teeth, leaving them discolored and ruining your pearly-white smile.
  • Popcorn – This tasty treat can easily get stuck between your teeth. This isn’t a problem if you remove it right away, but if you don’t know it’s there or can’t get it out immediately, it can cause bacteria to grow, which can damage your teeth.
  • Sports Drinks – Staying hydrated with one of these drinks sounds like a good idea after being active, but the high sugar content can cause the enamel of your teeth to decay.
  • Apples – Apples are healthy for your body, but the acid in these yummy fruits can wreak havoc on your teeth’s enamel.
  • Coffee – This is another acidic drink that can soften your enamel and lead to stains and discoloration. The same is true of dark-colored teas.
  • Hard candy – These sweet treats are usually full of sugar, which bacteria in your mouth feeds on. When you leave a hard candy in your mouth for an extended period of time, the bacteria have a free-for-all with the long-lasting supply of sugar.
  • Peanut butter and jelly – This common snack is great for a quick meal, but the sticky, sugary substances provide a buffet for bacteria, and they also make it easier for the bacteria to get stuck to your teeth.
  • Diet soda – While there may not be any sugar in diet drinks, there is still a high acid content, making them potentially damaging to your teeth.
  • Salad dressing – A salad is a healthy meal, but dressing that contains vinegar, which is acidic, and/or sugar can be damaging to the enamel of your teeth.

While this is not an all-inclusive list of foods and drinks that have the potential to harm your teeth, it does give you an idea of what to watch for in the various foods and drinks you consume – sugar and high acidity, both of which can make your smile less beautiful. However, keep in mind that you don’t have to give up your sweets, drinks, and fruits. Just remember to rinse your mouth as soon as you can, and brush your teeth within the hour to wash away the damaging effects of these kinds of foods and drinks. In other words, you can still have your cake and eat it, too, as long as you pack a toothbrush!