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Naughty vs. Nice: The Best and Worst Foods For Your Teeth


Good oral health doesn’t end in the bathroom sink.

Yes, thorough brushing and flossing is a must-do to maintain healthy teeth and gums… but looking after your smile also applies in the kitchen.

The types of food and drink we put into our mouths on a daily basis have a major impact on our oral health.

Read on for our oral health-inspired list of naughty vs. nice food and drink. 

Naughty list:

Fizzy drinks

Excess sugar is our teeth’s worst enemy. While it’s common knowledge fizzy drinks are bad for our oral health, it’s not just soft drinks high sugar content that is causing stress on our teeth.

Fizzy drinks are also loaded with citric and phosphoric acid, which erode enamel and create plaque. Team that with around 33 to 39 grams of sugar per can, and your literally sipping your way to tooth loss. 

So, even if you’re reaching for the ‘sugar-free’ soft drink options, you’re still not protecting your teeth from the harsh impacts of acid. If you’re desperately craving a fizzy drink, just remember to wash the residue down with water and brush your teeth after drinking.

Citrus fruits

When life gives you lemons, brush your teeth ASAP. 

Highly acidic citrus fruits such as lemons, limes and grapefruits (the sour ones) can eat away at tooth enamel.

On the other hand, whilst oranges are a citrus fruit too, they contain more teeth loving properties such as calcium and vitamin D.

It’s important to remember that citrus fruits are loaded with a range of health benefits, so don’t cut them completely out of your diet. Enjoy in moderation and always clean your teeth after.  

Potato chips and crackers

They are a snack staple, but potato chips and crackers wedge themselves into those hard-to-reach places between your teeth and gums.

It’s due to their high starch and refined carb content. When we chow down on chips and crackers, our saliva breaks them down into sugar and turns them into a pasty texture, which then slides into the crevices even our toothbrush struggles reach.

When you find yourself halfway through a bag of potato chips (we understand, it happens) just remember to keep the floss handy!


Vinegar is essential for the pickling process, however, it is highly acidic and can be bad news for tooth enamel. A UK study found eating pickles more than once a day increased the risk of erosion and tooth wear by 85 percent. 

The good news is, pickles aren’t exactly a food staple for most people. So, if or when you find yourself enjoying some pickles, just remember to brush your teeth afterwards to protect your enamel.

Chewy, hard and sour lollies

High in sugar, nutritionists and dentists recommended consuming lollies on the odd occasion as a treat.  

Chewy lollies can get stuck in our teeth long after we’ve finished eating the treat, allowing bacteria to feed off the leftover sugars. If you let sugar hang around inside your mouth for too long, it can eat away at the protective layer of tooth enamel causing cavities.

Hard lollies also linger inside our mouths as they take a long time to dissolve. Furthermore, you are risk of chipping a tooth if you bite down wrong. Ouch!

Sour lollies are another one to look out for. They contain stronger amounts of acid to give them their sour taste, which is bad news for our tooth enamel.

Dried fruit

Like lollies, dried fruits can get stuck in our teeth and leave an inviting trail of sugars for bacteria. Unlike their fresh fruit pals, the dried variety contains higher levels of sugar too. When it comes to a fruity snack, fresh is best.


Alcohol not only dehydrates our insides, but it dries out our saliva too. Saliva plays a key role in keeping our mouths healthy by preventing food from sticking to our teeth and gums. It can even repair some gum diseases, oral infections and tooth decay.

Nice list:

Crunchy vegetables

Vegetables are the core of a healthy diet, so it comes as no surprise they benefit our oral health too.

The best bites for your teeth are crunchy veggies such as raw carrots and celery. Crunching down on these acts as a toothbrush, rubbing leftover food and a build up of bacteria off your teeth. This motion also increases saliva, a key component for oral health. In addition, their high levels of vitamin A help boost gum health.


Most fruits are high in sugar, which isn’t ideal for our teeth, but apples are the exception. Like celery and carrots, the crunchiness of apples gives your teeth a clean while boosting saliva production.

It’ important to remember, eating crunchy foods doesn’t provide the same quality clean as brushing your teeth with a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, however it is a great way to end a meal in addition to daily cleaning and flossing. 


Yes, you read correctly. Cheese gets the tick of approval from dentists due to it’s high content of calcium and protein – two important nutrients to strengthen tooth enamel. Studies show cheese helps raise the pH levels in the mouth and fights against tooth decay. Do we really need another reason to enjoy cheese?

Leafy greens

Anything leafy and green is generally good for you health, so it’s understandable they benefit your oral health too. They are high in calcium, folic acid and vitamin B – thee powerhouse nutrients for healthy teeth and gums.

Want to know more everyday tips to maintain good oral health? Here at Mulgrave Dental Group, we are more than a dental clinic. Your overall health and wellbeing is our focus.

We go the extra mile to ensure you’re well informed about oral health and it’s connection to other aspect in your life.

For a dental appointment with a healthy difference, book an appointment with us today. 

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