Take care of your smile by avoiding these 10 foods.

In your quest to maintain healthy teeth and gums, you already know the common culprits to avoid.

Beyond the occasional treat, you steer clear of sticky sweets and sugary sodas. You know that foods and beverages like these can lead to plaque buildup, which can turn into a cavity.

Yet, did you know that your fridge and pantry might be stocked with some other items that aren’t so great for your teeth, either? A few of them might surprise you! As your trusted Greenville SC dentist, we’re here to set the record straight. Read on to discover 10 foods to nix, along with some great alternatives to try.

1. Ice

It’s just water, right?

If you love to crunch ice, it’s time to kick the habit. Because it’s so hard, it can weaken and damage your tooth enamel. This means it can lead to a chipped, cracked, or broken tooth. It can also loosen any dental crowns or fillings that you have in place.

Chill your water for a few hours to get it nice and cold before it’s time to sip. This way, you can skip the ice altogether to avoid the temptation (and the tooth pain). If you do decide to use ice in your drink, just remember not to chew it.

2. Citrus Juices

Full of Vitamin C, fiber, and other nutrients, citrus fruits are a delicious, healthy snack.

However, the bottled juices found at the grocery store aren’t quite as nutritious. These juices are often concentrated and loaded with extra sugar, canceling out the positive effects you’ll get from the fruit alone.

If you’re used to keeping your fridge stocked with these sweet sippers, the habit could soften and erode your enamel. In fact, one study found that grapefruit juice is nearly as erosive as Coca-Cola.

Moving forward, try to stick to whole fruits washed down with a glass of water, instead.

3. Soda

Half of the American population drinks at least one sugary drink per day, and it’s usually soda.

While popular, that daily habit could be doing more harm than you think. When the sugar in soda interacts with the bacteria in your mouth, it creates damaging acid. This is in addition to the acid already contained in regular and sugar-free sodas.

As those acids sit on your teeth, they can cause erosion and cavities. In time, you could find yourself Googling, “home remedies for tooth pain”“! Thankfully, this swap is easy to make. Stick to sparkling water with fruit to get the fizz without the risk.

4. Granola Bars

Store-bought granola bars look innocent enough, but one peek at the nutritional label will usually prove otherwise. These health foods typically include added sweeteners, such as corn syrup, honey, brown sugar, or fructose.

In addition, most will also include other mix-ins meant to add flavor, such as chocolate chips or a yogurt-dipped coating. These can ramp up the sugar content in no time, making the snack decidedly less healthy. To satisfy your craving and stay full on your next hike, pack raw granola instead. Or, make your own at home, where you can easily monitor the ingredients.

5. Pasta Sauce

No, we don’t expect you to serve your noodles bare! Unfortunately, though, most pasta sauces are adding more than color and flavor to your spaghetti.

They’re also upping the sugar count, as well as the acidity level. This delivers a one-two punch to your teeth. Though most sauces are more savory than sweet, you’d be surprised to find that many well-known brands can contain between 8 and 11 grams of sugar per half-cup serving.

Every so often, try switching out your go-to marinara with a light drizzle of olive oil. Or, look for sauces that contain three grams of sugar or less. You might find that you prefer the taste.

6. Bread, Chips and Crackers

Simple carbohydrates are starches made from white flour. You’ll find them in many types of bread, potato chips and crackers. While they might taste delicious, they can linger in your mouth for a long time after your meal is over.

When they do, they turn into simple sugars. As bacteria feed on these sugars, they produce acid that can cause decay.

This can leave your teeth and gums more vulnerable to damage, and lead you to seek treatments for tooth pain relief.

You don’t have to banish the carbs altogether, but avoid snacking on them throughout the day. When they are on your plate, remember to brush afterward.

7. Flavored Yogurt

If you’re used to grabbing a carton of yogurt on your way out the door in the morning, it’s easy to see why. This favorite breakfast snack is full of good-for-you dairy and protein. It can also be a gentle tooth soother when you’re dealing with uncomfortable wisdom tooth pain.

For everyday consumption, though, it’s best to do your research.

Even organic and “low-fat” varieties can contain half of your recommended daily intake of sugar. Not good news for your teeth. Try to stick with plain, unflavored yogurt and add in a handful of your favorite fruit.

8. Salad Dressing

Lettuce just wouldn’t taste right if it weren’t slathered in a rich, zesty sauce! We’ve gotten used to “sprucing up” our salads to the point where their health factor comes into question, and dressings are no exception.

The most sugary ones in this category are the sweet, tangy ones like French and Catalina dressings, along with fruit-flavored vinaigrettes.

Try making a quick homemade dressing made with vinegar and oil to kick the sugar (and calories) without sacrificing flavor. You can also drizzle your greens with Ranch or Blue Cheese dressing for a tooth-friendly touch.

9. Instant Oatmeal

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. That adage is especially applicable to those little packets of instant oatmeal that only require water and a good stir to make.

On its own, oatmeal is full of healthy fiber and makes an excellent meal or snack any time of the day. Yet, those powdered options usually contain added sugars that simply aren’t necessary and don’t benefit your teeth at all. While it’s preferable to make your own with quick-cook oats, you don’t have to skip out on the convenience altogether.

In the boxed varieties, opt for plain oatmeal only. Then, sprinkle in apple slices and ground cinnamon for a healthier spin on an old favorite.

10. Canned Soup

You don’t usually associate soup with sugar, but it’s worth taking a second look at those cans lining your shelves. Many supermarket brands will contain added sugars, along with other added ingredients that you won’t find in fresh, homemade batches.

As you check yours, look for other words that are often used to describe forms of sugar, including the following:

  • Barley malt
  • Maltose
  • Sucrose
  • Dextrose
  • High fructose corn syrup.

It’s possible to find canned soups that steer clear of these ingredients, so look for those first. You can also cook your own soup over the stovetop, where you can closely monitor the ingredients added.

Visit our Greenville SC dentist office today.

Now that you’ve read this list, you may be tempted to do a complete overhaul of your kitchen! Instead, simply vow to make one smart swap a day, and you’ll be well on your way toward making smart, mouth-friendly choices.

Along the way, we’re here to help keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy. Contact our Greenville SC dentist office today to schedule an appointment.