Your diet is an integral part of maintaining good oral health. Though you can't always avoid everything harmful to your teeth, these foods and beverages should be consumed in moderation to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
1. Sour Candies
We know you've heard it since you were a kid—candy is bad for your teeth. But sour candy is especially harmful to your oral health. Sour candies contain a multitude of acids that can erode your teeth's enamel. They're also sticky, which allows the sugar to stick to your teeth for longer and cause cavities.
ALTERNATIVE: If you've got a sweet tooth, opt for dark chocolate instead. You can chew it quickly and it washes away, unlike sour candies.
Number two should come as no surprise to you either. It's widely known that coffee stains your teeth, but it also dries out your mouth. If your mouth doesn't have enough saliva to wash away plaque and bring key minerals to your teeth, your oral health will suffer.
ALTERNATIVE: If you need your caffeine fix, opt for green tea instead. It's packed full of antioxidants and still has that kick of caffeine to get your day started. If you still need your coffee, be sure to drink plenty of water afterwards.
When you chew bread, your saliva breaks the bread down the starches into sugar, forming a sticky glue-like substance that sticks to your teeth and causes cavities.
ALTERNATIVE: Grab a loaf of whole grain or wheat bread instead of starchy white bread. These options contain less added sugars, and aren't as easily broken down by saliva.
It may feel nice to crunch on some ice on a warm summer day, but you're better off skipping the ice cubes. When chewed, ice can damage your enamel and even cause your teeth to chip or crack.
ALTERNATIVE: Grab a glass of ice water instead, but be sure not to chew on that ice.
Alcohol dries dehydrates you and dries out your mouth as a result. If drank excessively, alcohol can limit your saliva flow over time, leading to tooth decay and gum disease.
ALTERNATIVE: Avoid sugary cocktails with lots of added sugar, and brush your teeth and drink water after alcohol consumption.