10 foods and drinks that are secretly wrecking your teeth and gums

May 21, 2022
Learn what damages your smile and how to avoid it. Source: Getty

Your teeth need to last you a lifetime, but what you put in your mouth could be destroying your oral health. Dr Valence Roberts – Principal Dentist, reveals the 10 foods and drinks that are secretly wrecking your teeth and gums.

1. Carbonated drinks and alcohol

Wine, beer, black coffee, cola, orange juice, sports drinks and even sparkling water all have high acidic levels. If you insist on drinking the above, to avoid it staining your teeth, use a straw and swish with a glass of water immediately after.

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Source: Carbonated drinks. Source: Getty

2. Citrus fruits

Grapefruit, oranges and lemons are highly acidic and can cause tooth enamel to dissolve. Excess consumption may also lead to tooth sensitivity and staining. Rinse and swirl your teeth with water after eating citrus, then wait 30 minutes to brush your teeth. If you brush immediately after eating/drinking acidic substances, you can wear your teeth away faster.

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High-citrus fruits. Source: Getty

3. Cough Drops or Throat Lozenges

You only have to cough or have the ‘ahem’ bug to attract accusatory glares, so a medicated cough may seem like a great solution to ward off an annoying throat tickle. However, they’re as bad as eating boiled lollies because they sit in your mouth for extended periods. Try a warm saltwater gargle or sip sugar-free hot tea instead. If you need to use lozenges, the sugar-free ones cause less damage.

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Throat lozenges. Source: Getty

4. Curries

There’s nothing like the richly flavoured butter chicken or Tikka Masala, but many of the spices such as turmeric and saffron are brightly pigmented, and if consumed regularly, can leave your teeth looking yellow. Rinse with water during the meal and brush your teeth 3o minutes after eating to help reduce the risk of stains.

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Curry spices. Source: Getty

5. Vinegar

Whether you’re doing a morning shot of apple cider vinegar for its health benefits or drowning your salad in the fruitiness of a dark balsamic, vinegar can attack and erode tooth enamel making your teeth more susceptible to staining. Immediately after, drink a glass of water or reach for the sugar-free gum.

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Vinegar. Source: Getty

6. Coffee

The dark, natural pigments from coffee beans are renowned for staining your teeth. Avoid savouring your cup of coffee over a long period of time so you can rinse your mouth with water. Perhaps consider alternating between a sip of coffee and a sip of water. Always finish with a water rinse (non-carbonated water).

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Coffee. Source: Getty

7. Berries

Blackberries, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, pomegranates and boysenberries all have high teeth-staining pigment. Professional teeth whitening can reduce the amount of staining. For results within an hour, make an appointment with a cosmetic dentist. Philips Zoom Teeth Whitening is the only certified teeth whitening procedure that provides long-lasting results from just one session with little to no sensitivity.

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Mixed berries. Source: Getty

8. Clear soft drinks

Simply because a drink doesn’t have colouring, does not mean it won’t affect your teeth. The high acidity erodes away tooth enamel, making your teeth more prone to staining.

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Clear soft drinks. Source: Getty

9. Pasta

If you’ve ever put leftover tomato-based pasta dishes in a container, you’ll know how hard it is to remove the orange-red stain it leaves behind. Your teeth are no different. Rich in pigment and acid, tomatoes are a big culprit in teeth staining. Try using a cream or pesto sauce instead.

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Tomato pasta. Source: Getty

10. Popcorn

Hard popcorn kernels could crack or damage your teeth (or veneers if you have them). Popcorn starts creating acid in your mouth almost immediately. Before the end of the movie, rinse your teeth with water or carry toothpicks with you to get rid of the excess popcorn husks to avoid infection.

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Popcorn. Source: Getty

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

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