Ask a Lombard Dentist: Which foods and drinks are bad for teeth?

In today’s blog post, our Lombard dentist explores which foods and drinks are the culprits behind pesky dental problems, giving you healthier alternatives for stronger teeth and gums.

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While brushing and flossing are essential, what we eat and drink also plays a significant role in dental health. Some foods and beverages can wreak havoc on our teeth, leading to cavities, erosion, and other dental issues. Our Lombard dentist is here to tell you which foods and drinks to avoid and which treats to indulge in more often for a healthier smile.

Want to learn more about dental nutrition in Lombard, IL? Ask Dr. Julie Glud and her knowledgeable team at Dental Care of Lombard today. You can reach our five-star Lombard dentist at (630) 629-5700 for specialized care.

Foods and Drinks to Avoid

All drinks and foods are best in moderation, which is why our Lombard dentist recommends limiting the consumption of certain treats, such as:

Sugary Sodas

When it comes to dental decay, sugary sodas are one of the biggest offenders. The high sugar content in these beverages feeds the bacteria in our mouths, leading to the production of acids that can erode tooth enamel.


Whether it’s hard candy, gummies, or chewy treats, candy is overflowing with sugar. This is problematic because sugar can stick to our teeth and promote microbial growth, increasing the risk of cavities.

Citrus Fruits

According to our Lombard dentist, citrus fruits like oranges and lemons are packed with vitamin C, which is beneficial to a healthy, strong smile. However, overindulging in these mouth-puckering fruits can weaken enamel over time, making teeth more susceptible to decay.

Sports and Energy Drinks

Although marketed as a way to replenish electrolytes after physical activity or stay awake during a work shift, many sports and energy drinks contain high levels of sugar and acid. In combination, sugar and acid can seriously harm tooth enamel, creating smile issues like cavities and gum disease.

Potato Chips

While potato chips may not seem like an obvious culprit, the starch in these snacks can get trapped in between teeth, providing a food source for bacteria.

Ice Cream

Ice cream is not only high in sugar but also acidic, which can contribute to tooth enamel erosion if consumed frequently.

Cookies, Cakes, and Pastries

These sweet treats are not only delicious but also loaded with sugar, giving harmful oral bacteria the fuel they need to multiply and thrive.


No matter your preference, all wines are acidic. This means that a nightly glass (or two) could be wreaking serious havoc on your pearly whites.

Coffee and Tea

While coffee and tea may give us that much-needed energy boost, they are, unfortunately, acidic. This acidity can erode tooth enamel over time, leading to sensitivity and decay.

Vinegar, Pickles, and Fruit Juices

Vinegar, pickles, and fruit juices have a particularly high acid content. This means that frequent consumption can weaken tooth enamel and lead to dental problems.

Soda Water

We love a good, bubbly seltzer! But, while soda water may seem like a better alternative to sugary sodas, it’s still acidic and can erode tooth enamel if consumed frequently.


Any alcoholic beverage (including spirits, beer, and wine) can dry out the mouth. This reduces saliva production and increases the risk of tooth decay.


While popcorn may be a low-calorie snack, the kernels can get stuck in between teeth. These lodged kernels become food for oral microbes while also posing a risk to sensitive gum tissue.

Bread and Crackers

Crackers and bread may seem harmless, but the starches in these items can break down into sugars, which can fuel bacterial growth in the mouth.

Flavored Water

Flavored water may seem like a healthier alternative to sugary beverages. However, many varieties still contain acidic ingredients and can harm tooth enamel over time.

If unflavored water isn’t an option for you, our Lombard dentist recommends drinking flavored water quickly. Sipping flavored water over long stretches of time can prolong acid exposure, which can erode teeth.

Food and Drinks to Enjoy

When it comes to smile-friendly foods and drinks, our Lombard dentist recommends:

Still, Unflavored Water

We know influencers on social media are making bubbly, flavored water popular right now. But our Lombard dentist recommends steering clear of flavored, carbonated water.

Instead, try to up your intake of fresh, uncarbonated water. By drinking clean, untampered water, you can keep your mouth’s pH stable while rinsing away residual food and preventing decay.

Dairy Products

Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are rich in calcium and phosphorus, which are essential minerals for maintaining strong and healthy teeth. Calcium helps strengthen tooth enamel, while phosphorus works with calcium to remineralize teeth and repair damage.

Furthermore, evidence suggests that frequently consuming yogurt may keep gum disease-related tooth loss at bay.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens (like collard greens, kale, and spinach) are simply loaded with vitamins and minerals, which are essential for tooth strength. They also contain folic acid, which has been shown to help prevent gum disease.

Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables

Crunchy fruits and vegetables are not only nutritious but also beneficial for dental health. Their crisp texture helps scrub away plaque and food particles from the teeth, promoting good oral hygiene.

Our Lombard dentist recommends eating plenty of apples, carrots, and celery for natural teeth cleaning.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of protein, vitamins, and minerals that are essential for dental health. They also stimulate saliva production, which helps neutralize acids and carry away food debris from the teeth.

Sugar-Free Gum

Chewing artificially sweetened gum after meals encourages saliva production, which helps get rid of food particles and counteracts acids in the mouth. Search for gum sweetened with xylitol, a type of natural sugar alcohol that has been shown to reduce the risk of cavities.

Whole Grains

Whole grains (like brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat pasta) are rich in vitamins and minerals that are essential for dental health, including B vitamins and magnesium.


Eggs are a remarkable source of protein, which is important for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. They’re also rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium for strong and healthy teeth.

Dental Nutrition with a Lombard Dentist

Dental nutrition plays a key role in the health and functionality of your smile. Want to learn more about which foods and drinks are best for your pearly whites? Contact our Lombard Dentist online or call Dental Care of Lombard at (630) 629-5700 for personalized care.

Dentist Near You


120 E St Charles Rd
Lombard, IL 60148 USA


(630) 629-5700


(630) 613-9760



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Tuesday: 7:00 AM - 3:00 PM
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Friday: Closed
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Sunday: Closed

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