Healthy Foods That Make Teeth Rot

Candy is bad for your teeth. Well, that’s a no-brainer! Even 3-year-olds know that. But my patients are always caught off guard when I tell them that certain healthy foods are just as unkind to your chompers and can cause your teeth to rot. So grab a toothbrush and hear me out.

Fruit Juice

The Trouble: OJ, grapefruit, pineapple and other fruit juices are packed with sugar. Even though it’s the natural kind that’s better for the rest of your body, the decay-causing bacteria in your mouth like it just as much as any other type of sugar. They gobble it up and multiply in droves. Plus, fruit juices contain a lot of acid, and acid from any kind of food or drink — even nutritious ones — erodes tooth enamel.

The Fix: Chances are you drink these juices mostly in the morning. Brush and floss after breakfast, rather than before, and problem solved. If you happen to have a glass later in the day and don’t have your toothbrush handy, swish water around in your mouth to neutralize the acid.

Dried Fruit

The Trouble: Sure, raisins, currants, and other dried fruit supply your body with cancer-fighting antioxidants. But the bacteria in your mouth see a sugar feast. One small 1 1/2-ounce box of raisins contains 25 grams of sugar — as much as a slice of pie topped with ice cream! Making matters worse, dried fruit is super-sticky, just like gummy bears and jelly beans, so it often gets caught in between your teeth.

The Fix: You don’t need to give up dried fruit since it’s healthy for the rest of you. But after you eat it, brush and floss your teeth.

Chips and Pretzels

The Trouble: The bacteria in your mouth that love sugar also adore starches like potatoes, pretzels, white bread and white rice. These foods turn into a gluey paste that clings to your teeth. Bacteria prefer these kinds of starches, because they’re broken down much faster than whole grains, like whole-wheat bread and brown rice.

The Fix: Switch to whole grains — they’re better for your body as well as your mouth. Try whole-grain crackers with cheese, or whole-grain pretzels with peanut butter. You can even start by pairing one slice of white bread and one slice of whole wheat on a sandwich to get used to the taste. In the meantime, brush your teeth after a starchy meal or snack.

About the Author

Dr. Eugene L. Antenucci is a 1983 graduate of New York University College of Dentistry. He was awarded a Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry in 1992, his Fellowship in the American College of Dentists in 1999, and his Fellowship in the International College of Dentists in 2005. He served as a Clinical Instructor at New York University College of Dentistry in the Department of Prosthodontics and Occlusion from 1989 thru 2004, and as an Assistant Clinical Professor at the School of Dental Medicine at Stony Brook University from 1995 thru 2002. Currently, he serves as an Attending Dentist at Montefiore Hospital and Medical Center while maintaining a full-time private practice in Huntington, NY. Dr. Antenucci lectures internationally, conducting seminars in the clinical utilization of advanced technology in dentistry, as well as seminars in cosmetic dentistry and practice management.


8 Responses to “Healthy Foods That Make Teeth Rot”

  1. Great tips, some of which I never thought of! I never gave much thought to pretzels and teeth before! Thanks!

  2. A friend of mine was bottle fed PEPSI of all things and didn’t get teeth until the fourth grade. Isn’t that insane?

  3. ibrahim says:

    i want to make my teeth to be white

  4. wow i new about fruit juices with all that sugar in them of course that is going to damage and with the push on 5 a day i think we should be more aware of this. However i had no idea about dried fruit and the other items! Thank you for bringing this up, great article!

  5. My daughter has this strange bad teeth caused by the bad water, said our dentist, her teeth are simply getting cavity just cause the water contains too much of something. At nursery she is drinking bottled water but her teeth have gone bad, I’m simply terrified, she might get a lot of pain and she is only 3 years old, not an ideal candidate for a visit to the dentist. Not sure if there is a way to help her….

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