Foods That damage The Teeth

It is a known fact amongst Dentists, that the condition of our teeth reflect our diet. Various foods and drinks can cause tooth decay (dental caries), tooth erosion ( acid wear) and even gum disease. Now, let us understand more about these harmful foods that damage our teeth and can cause tooth decay.




Sugar is the number one enemy of teeth !

Whenever we put something with sugar in our mouth, the bacteria in our saliva feed on the sugar and convert it to ACID. It is the ACID that then “eats” your tooth enamel, which causes tooth decay.

Regardless of whether it is brown sugar, refined sugar, honey or even fruit sugars, it is still sugar, and all have the same damaging affect on teeth. Sugar containing foods include lollies, cakes, biscuits, chocolate, desserts, and fruit juice (more on that later).

The best time to consume something sweet, is AFTER a main meal or WITH a main meal, rather than IN BETWEEN meals.


Soft drinks contain sugar and acid.

The “diet” soft drinks (that is, artificially sweetened soft drinks) actually contain more acid than the sugar containing ones. The sugar causes tooth decay and the acid causes tooth erosion.

Tooth erosion happens as a result of the acid softening the enamel (the hard, outer shell of the teeth), making the teeth more vulnerable to wear and abrasion, as well as causing sensitivity and discolouration.


Both red and white wine are acidic. It is the acid which softens tooth enamel and causes tooth erosion. Red wine also contains compounds called tannins, which stain the teeth.

If you plan on drinking wine with dinner, it is very important to wait at least 30 minutes after, before you brush your teeth. This is because the acid has softened the teeth structure, making it vulnerable to abrasion.

Another suggestion is, that, if you plan on drinking wine with dinner, to brush your teeth BEFOREHAND, and then simply rinse your mouth with water before going to sleep.


The citric acid in lemons, limes and grapefruits in particular, can cause acid wear and dental erosion.

As mentioned earlier, tooth erosion causes sensitivity and discolouration and leaves the teeth vulnerable to wear and abrasion. The truth is that frequent exposures to acidic foods and beverages can erode enamel, so one needs to be careful about consuming too much and too frequently.

Whilst drinking lemon/lime juice in water, drink it with a straw to minimise contact with the teeth. Rinse your mouth with water afterwards. Wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth, so that the softened enamel can remineralise (harden) again.


Like lemons and limes, all vinegar is highly acidic and can quickly erode the tooth enamel.

If you drink apple cider vinegar, then add water to it, and drink it through a straw and do not sip it slowly! You want to minimise the exposure to the teeth.

Rinse with water (but do not brush your mouth) afterwards.


Dried fruit contains highly concentrated sugar, and the texture is sticky. Sticky foods can damage teeth since they tend to cling to the teeth longer than other types of food.

Make sure to rinse your mouth with water afterwards, and to brush and floss teeth carefully.


Like dried fruit, fruit juices are a concentrated source of sugar. as they are often reconstituted from concentrate.

Even though the sugar in fruit juices is “natural”, it has the same effect on the teeth as processed sugars, and can result in tooth decay.

The bottom line is that, sugar and acid can be your teeth’s worst enemy . Combined together, their action on tooth enamel leads to decay and cavities.

Unfortunately, there is sugar in so many foods and drinks these days, that it can be impossible to avoid.

Instead of the above foods and drinks, try eating more “mouth friendly” snacks such as cheeses, non-acidic fruits and vegetables, snacking on nuts and drinking tap water.

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