The Top 10 Foods That Are Damaging Your Teeth

Happy mid adult woman eating popcorn while watching a movie at home in living room

By Dr Richard Marques

Dr Richard Marques, Wimpole Street Dental

Dr Richard Marques

1 Tomatoes are surprisingly acidic, causing tooth erosion and damage to the enamel. If eating them raw, always consume with other foods such as in a salad, so as not to directly expose your teeth quite as much.

Cherry tomatoes growing in the garden

Pic: iStockphoto 

2 Crisps are full of starch that ultimately turns into sugar in the mouth. This then gets trapped between the teeth and creates bacteria causing plaque. Always be sure to floss after eating!

Crisps in a brown bowl

Pic: Moira Chisholm

3 Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons have high acid contents which damages the tooth enamel. Try swapping citrus fruits for bananas and watermelons which are much less acidic and always drink fruit juices through a straw.

Selection of oranges cut in half

Pic: iStockphoto


4 Popcorn, much like crisps, can get stuck in the spaces between your teeth causing a build-up of plaque. You should also be wary of un-popped kernels that can chip the teeth. If you do choose to snack on popcorn, avoid adding salt or sugar.

Happy mid adult woman eating popcorn while watching a movie at home in living room

Pic: iStockphoto

5 White bread contains simple carbohydrates including sugar which dissolves in the mouth, creating erosive acids when you chew. Food particles also get trapped easily between the teeth. Rinse with an anti-bacterial mouthwash and use dental floss to prevent build ups.

6 Sour sweets contain several types of acids and tend to be chewy, meaning they are likely to stuck to your teeth for longer than a hard sweet. Always wait at least an hour after eating sweets before brushing to give the enamel a chance to re-harden.

7 Balsamic vinegar is particularly damaging to your teeth as it is deeply pigmented and full of acid, so will stain the teeth and cause erosion. Drink a glass of water after you eat anything containing vinegar to help clear any lingering acids.

8 Dried fruit often contains a surprising amount of sugar, which we all know is damaging to teeth. The sticky consistency also acts as an adhesive, causing remnants to get stuck in tiny holes and between the teeth.

Organic Healthy Assorted Dried Fruit on a Plate

Pic: iStockphoto

9 Pickles are another food alarmingly high in sugar and acid, depending on what they have been pickled in. Eating a piece of cheese after a pickle can help reduce damaging effects as the calcium in the cheese will neutralise the acid in the vinegar.
10 Breath mints are designed to stay in your mouth for a long time, effectively coating your teeth in sugar. Always choose sugar-free options and make sure you brush your teeth and rinse with mouthwash afterwards.

Portrait of pretty young woman brushing her teeth in the bathroom at home.

Pic: iStockphoto

Moira Chisholm

I'm the Health Editor on My Weekly and am always interested to hear what's new in this fascinating field. I also deal with the gardening, shopping pages, general features, our website content and the Ask Helen problem page. I have a special interest in Christmas content because I'm on the team for Your Best Ever Christmas Magazine, too!