Special Report

25 Foods and Drinks That Are Wrecking Your Teeth and Gums

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11. Energy drinks

Drinking energy or sports drinks can be like giving your teeth an acid bath. Energy drinks are the worst, with twice as much acidity as sports drinks in many cases. Acidic drinks lower saliva’s pH (which means raising its acidity), and it takes about half an hour for the saliva to return to normal — meaning that the damage continues long after you’ve had your last sip. Another problem is that caffeinated beverages promote hyperactivity, which for some people leads to grinding of the teeth, causing further problems.

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12. Fruit juice

As noted above, citrus fruits are highly acidic and can damage tooth enamel. But other kinds of juice can be problematic, too. Cranberry juice, for instance, is actually more acidic than orange juice.

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13. Granola

Though often considered a healthier alternative to ordinary breakfast cereals, granola is typically loaded with sugar. It also usually contains raisins (which stick to the teeth) and hard nuggets of grain that can chip or break already-weakened teeth. Granola bars can be as bad or worse, because in addition to the sugar in the granola itself, some manufacturers coat their bars with an extra crust of sugar, adding both extra bacteria-inducing sweetness and further opportunities for chipping or breaking the teeth.

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14. Gummy bears

Gummy bears and other gummy candies (Swedish Fish, Jolly Ranchers, etc.) are among the worst candy varieties because they stick to the teeth so tenaciously — and the longer sugary substances are in contact with the enamel, the more bacteria grows and the more cavities result.

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15. Hard candy

Hard candies are a double-threat problem for the teeth: They’re basically pure plaque-inducing sugar, and they’re, well, hard — which means that biting down on them can crack, chip, or break a tooth.

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