Special Report

25 Foods and Drinks That Are Wrecking Your Teeth and Gums

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16. Peanut butter and jelly

Jelly is obviously sweet, and most mass-market peanut butters are sweetened, too, so this popular sandwich ends up being a sugar bomb. Making it on white bread compounds the dangers (see below).

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17. Pickles

Sweet pickles are a one-two punch — acid and sugar, both bad for your teeth. Even dill pickles and other sour pickled vegetables, though, can be destructive, as the vinegar with which they’re preserved wears down tooth enamel. A dentist’s tip: If you’re eating something pickled, have a bite of cheese along with it. The calcium in the cheese neutralizes the vinegar’s acidity.

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18. Pineapple

There’s good news and bad news about this luscious tropical fruit: Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain which can act as a natural stain remover and even help dissolve harmful plaque. On the other hand, like many fruits, pineapple is high in acid, which can break down the enamel that protects the teeth.

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19. Popcorn

Popcorn is a healthy snack, but it can cause gum and tooth issues because the hulls of the popped corn, as well as the “old maids” (the half-popped kernels) can easily lodge not only between the teeth but between teeth and gums, too.

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20. Potato chips

Like crackers, potato chips are pretty much pure starch, which gets converted quickly into sugar. When bits of chip and the sugar they produce get trapped between your teeth or in your gums, they just sit there and nourish the bacteria that forms plaque. Cavities result.

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