The English musical, Oliver! based upon the novel, Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens made food famous in the song, “Food Glorious Food”. It sings the praises of wanting, needing, praying for and enjoying food of all types, with seemingly no downsides. If “you are what you eat,” let’s start with your teeth, and the food and snacks you consumer daily. Many foods and drinks cause plaque, the sticky film formed from bacteria and food debris that builds up on teeth releasing acids that contribute to tooth decay (cavities), gingivitis and periodontal (gum) disease. And many foods can damage your teeth in other ways, such as cracking or chipping a tooth, or damaging an existing filling.

Brushing and flossing your teeth every day, and seeing your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings are a must, but one of the best recommendations I can give you as an oral fitness expert is to limit or avoid foods that can lead to problems with your teeth.

Here is my TIP SHEET of the worst foods and snacks for your kid’s teeth, and why they should be avoided.

FOODS HIGH IN SUGAR can attack tooth enamel and cause decay and cavities.

  • Hard or chewy candy
  • Sour candy
  • Soft drinks
  • Dried fruit
  • Desserts
  • Jams and jelly
  • Cereal
  • Canned fruit in syrup
  • Trail mix


CARBOHYDRATES AND STARCHY FOODS
break down into sugars, which can cause tooth decay and cavities.

  • White bread
  • Bread sticks
  • Crackers
  • Potato chips
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Pasta


BEVERAGES
with sugar damage tooth enamel, can cause dry mouth, and stain teeth.

  • Carbonated soda
  • Sugar-free (diet) soda
  • Anything cola
  • Sports drinks
  • Energy drinks


HARD FOODS
can chip, crack or loosen a tooth or damage a filling.

  • Ice
  • Popcorn
  • Candy apples
  • Hard candy
  • Gumballs


FRUIT
especially citrus, and high acidic foods, can erode tooth enamel, causing tooth decay, cavities or discoloration. Rinse mouth with water after eating or drinking; brush and floss.

  • Lemons
  • Grapefruit
  • Limes
  • Tomatoes
  • Juices
  • Dried fruits like apricots, figs, prunes and raisins
  • Fruit “leather”
  • Pickles
  • Vinegar (in salad dressings, sauces, pickles, potato chips)

(LOW ACIDIC or “good” FOODS include bananas, avocados, lean meats, whole grains, cheese, nuts and vegetables)

COLORED FOODS AND DRINKS
can stain, period. Rinse after eating.

  • Berries
  • Beets


Information is power! You can still enjoy eating and drinking, but be “tooth friendly” and with my TIP SHEET at hand, everything in moderation.

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