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5 Unhealthy Foods for Teeth

Certain foods are especially bad for your teeth, and the list might surprise you. Help keep your teeth healthy by avoiding these 5 unhealthy foods for teeth. 

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Unhealthy Foods for Teeth

For children, trips to the dentist are scary, mostly because it’s unknown territory. They can still be scary for adults, only now it’s because we know what to expect-and how much it’s going to cost. So keeping our teeth clean and healthy is high on the priority list, which is why we’ve compiled this list of unhealthy foods for teeth.

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1. Unhealthy Foods for Teeth: Hard Candy

Hard candy is an unhealthy food for teeth. A post-meal mint may seem like a smart choice, especially if you indulged in the Caesar salad at lunch, but Toronto-based dentist Walter Vogl says you could be doing more harm than good. “Mints, cough drops or hard candies that you suck on have a demineralization effect,” he says, “because usually the lozenge ends up sitting in one area for longer periods of time and you get a very concentrated build-up of acid.” But don’t think you’re doomed to have bad breath. “If you use lozenges of any kind on a regular basis,” Dr. Vogl suggests, “you should consider getting sugar-free versions.”

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2. Unhealthy Foods for Teeth: Sticky Candy or Fruit

Whether it’s gummy bears, bits of chewy toffee or even chocolate, we all know that indulging this particular craving can leave our teeth feeling less than spectacular. These are unhealthy foods for teeth. “Whenever you have something stuck to your tooth,” says Dr. Vogl, “your saliva cannot contact that part of your tooth to neutralize the acid or remineralize the area, so you have a greater loss of calcium.” Unfortunately this is true even of sticky things that are good for you, such as dried fruit. “Bacteria converts all sugars to acid, so it doesn’t matter if it’s refined sugar or fruit sugars.” If you’re compelled to eat something from this category, follow it up by brushing your teeth.

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3. Sports Drinks Wreak Havoc on Teeth

Dr. Vogl also recommends avoiding viscous, sweet liquids, such as high-carb sports replenishment drinks. They are not the greatest for oral health. Not only are they acidic to begin with, but the thick liquid can stick to your teeth for long periods of time. When it comes to your teeth, it’s best to refuel with plain old H2O.

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4. Lemons Aren’t Good for Teeth

If you prefer sour to sweet, you could still be in danger of ruining your teeth. “Lemons are quite acidic, so if you suck on them and chew on them for longer periods of time, you are demineralizing your enamel right away,” Dr. Vogl says. That’s right, not only does the sugar in the lemons (or any sugar added to them) turn acidic in your mouth, they’re acidic-and harm your teeth-to begin with. Lemons are unhealthy for oral health

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5. Sodas and Fruit Juices Wreak Havoc on Teeth

Once again, sugar is the bad guy when it comes to these sweet beverages. They’re unhealthy food for teeth. But don’t stress out too much over them. “Unless you’re keeping the soda in your mouth for extended periods of time, or have the habit of swishing the soda around your teeth before swallowing, the demineralization effect can be minimized by drinking some water right after,” says Dr. Vogl. In addition, keep a stash of straws on hand at all times, to keep the liquid away from your teeth as much as possible.

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