Food is very important to the health of your teeth and gums. In last week’s blog we discussed how you can incorporate healthy foods into your diet to improve your teeth and gum health; but this week we want to focus on foods that do damage to your teeth and gums. Foods that are typically bad for teeth are high in acids and sugar, sticky, hard, or full of refined carbs. Avoiding these unhealthy foods can help improve oral health, keep away cavities, strengthen enamel, and prevent gum disease. Read on to find out what are some of the worst foods for health teeth and gums.

Worst Food For Teeth Gums-dried fruit

Dried Fruit:

Dried fruit is typically seen as a healthy and convenient snack, but their stickiness can cause issues for your teeth and gums. Dried fruit like raisins, apricots, prunes, and figs stick to teeth and easily hide in hard to reach crevices. Plus, dried fruit tends to be high in sugar which is known to cause cavities and contribute to gum disease.

Sour/Chewy Candy:

We all know candy is bad for oral health, but sour and chewy candy tend to be the worst offenders. Sour candy is more acidic than other types of candy and contains the type of acids that are the toughest on your teeth. On top of that most sour candy tends to be chewy. Chewy foods stick to your teeth, wedge themselves into small crevices, and are not easily washed away by saliva.


Alcohol dehydrates the body including the mouth. A common side effect of drinking alcohol is a dry mouth. This is a problem because dry mouth indicates inadequate levels of saliva. Saliva is very important to oral health. Saliva acts as a barrier keeping bad bacteria away from your teeth and washes away left-over food particles. For optimal oral health, either cut back on the amount of alcohol you consume or drink plenty of water during and after drinking alcohol to make sure your mouth stays hydrated.

Worst Food For Teeth & Gums - ice


Ice is perfectly fine in drinks; however, if you have a habit of chewing on ice you can do some real damage to your teeth. People who chew on ice have a higher rate of damaged enamel, tooth chipping, and other dental issues.

Sandwich Bread:

This may surprise a lot of people, but sandwich bread makes the list of food that is bad for your teeth and gums. When you eat bread, your saliva breaks down the starches into sugar. Just like with candy, large amounts of sugar can lead to tooth decay and cavities. What makes it worse is that during the chewing process the bread is transformed into a gummy substance that sticks to teeth and gets stuck in all the little crevices between teeth. Instead try to opt for less-refined sandwich bread such as whole wheat. Whole wheat contains less added sugars, the sugars are broken down slower, and it doesn’t stick to your teeth as much. If whole wheat isn’t your thing, make sure to floss and brush soon after eating sandwich bread to remove the gummy particles left over.

Sugary Drinks:

Sodas, juice, wine, and other sugary drinks are terrible for your tooth and gum health. These drinks are highly acidic and contain loads of sugar, both of which have been linked to increased cavity risk. Dark colored drinks such as grape juices, dark soda, and red wine also lead to stain formation.

Worst Food For Teeth & Gums-lemon and lime

Citrus Fruits:

Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, lime are great for you body because they are packed with vitamin C; however, their acid content can be harmful to your teeth and gums. Citrus fruits tend to be very acidic, when you eat these foods the acid can overtime erode your enamel making your teeth sensitive and more prone to decay. You don’t have to completely cut these foods out of your diet but try to eat them in moderation and rinse with water afterwards.

Don’t Brush For 30 Mins After Eating Citrus Fruits: It’s important to only rinse with water afterwards and to not brush your teeth for 30 mins after you consume citrus fruits. This is because water will dilute the acid and wash it away, brushing will just spread the acid around and can do damage to the weakened enamel.

Carbonated Drinks:

Similar to Citrus Fruits, carbonated drinks have a high acid content and can erode your enamel making your teeth sensitive and prone to decay. Carbonated drinks also dry out our mouth, reducing your levels of saliva. This is a problem because your saliva coats your teeth and gums, protecting them from acids and washing away debris and bad bacteria. And just like the advice above for citrus fruits, if you do drink a carbonated beverage rinse your mouth out with water after and make sure not to brush your teeth for up to 30 mins after.


Coffee combines all the worst things for your teeth and gums. It stains teeth, dries out your mouth, makes your teeth sticky, is acidic, and contains lots of sugar (if you use creamer/add in sugar). Each of these things are bad for your teeth and gums but combined they can really do some damage especially if you drink coffee every day. Since cutting out coffee isn’t reasonable for most, our dentists suggest you minimize the damage by drinking plenty of water afterwards and avoid additives like sugar and creamer in your coffee.

Worst Food For Teeth Gums-tomatoes

Pickles, Tomatoes, Salad Dressing:

Pickles, tomatoes, and a lot of salad dressings contain high levels of acid which can damage your enamel and make your teeth weaker. These foods are all great for other aspects of your health, so you don’t need to remove them entirely; however, our dentists advise that you eat them mixed in with a meal rather than individually and that you rinse with water afterwards in order to minimize the acid.

Now that you know what food and drinks are bad for the health of your teeth and gums you can make smart choices to limit these foods and minimize the damage when you do consume these types of food/drinks.  If you’re feeling like you teeth might be damaged by a diet high in these foods schedule an appointment with our dentists for a cleaning. Just fill out our contact form or give us a call at 202-509-0801.