Dentists Reveal the 8 Worst Things for Your Teeth

Survey time! What was your favorite Halloween trick-or-treating treat as a kid? Was it: a) sour candies, b) chocolates, c) freshly-baked cookies, or d) apples.

OK, whoever picked “d” as their answer is obviously lying—no kid likes getting Granny Smiths dropped into their pillowcases!

Just the same, the well-intentioned folks who offered up the healthy treats were only trying to save your growing chompers from a future of pain and decay. You can’t fault them for that…

But as it turns out, candy isn’t on the top of many dentists’ lists of “foods to avoid”. In fact, it doesn’t even crack the top eight. Believe it or not, there are plenty of other snacks out there that do an even dirtier job on your enamel than Everlasting Gobstoppers. Who knew?

Why dentists want you to avoid these 8 foods

  1. Ice

    The good folks at the American Dental Association don’t want you to ever chew on your ice. Sure, the sensation may feel good, but dentists cringe at the bad habit, as it is known to damage enamel over time and even crack teeth wide open. Yikes!

  2. Cough Drops

    Dr. Burhenne of told Business Insider that one of the best ways to avoid cavities is to ditch those cough drops. “Sucking on a [cough drop] means the teeth are exposed to sugars and acids for a lot longer than if you had just a slice of cake that went down the hatch quickly,” he explained. Makes sense!

  3. Saltines

    In the same interview, Dr. Burhenne poo-pooed a food item that we always thought of as being completely harmless: saltine crackers. According to the dentist, most saltines contain highly processed starches and genetically engineered ingredients, making the stomach flu staple cariogenic, or cavity-causing.

  4. Citrus

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, highly acidic foods—like oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits—can erode the teeth over time and contribute to those ever-painful canker sores. The ADA suggests drinking plenty of water if you decide to indulge in the fruit. Good to know!

  5. Potato Chips

    Similar to saltines, potato chips are chock-full of highly-processed starches and genetically engineered ingredients that are known to contribute to tooth decay. The process starts when potato chip lovers crunch down and the salty treats get stuck in the crevices between the teeth. If you can’t stay away from these guys, definitely floss following that salty snack attack!

  6. Corn on the Cob

    If corn is a must-eat veggie in your life, then make sure you remove it from the cob before serving it up. Sure, corn-on-the-cob may be a summertime staple, but dentists, like Dr. John F. Buzzatto, president of the American Association of Orthodontics, will tell you that chomping on the food can lead to cracked fillings, damaged orthodontic wires, and even dislodged dentures.

  7. Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches

    Sure, we all ate these as kids, but PB&J isn’t a good choice for mature teeth. The three ingredients of processed bread (white bread’s the worst), peanut butter, and jelly all have one thing in common—high sugar content. To make the combo even worse, the sticky consistencies of the spreads practically beckon bacteria to adhere to the teeth. Yuck!

  8. Popcorn

    In a recent interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Dr. Mark Hughes, a dentist with the U.K.-based Harley Street Dental Group, reveals that popcorn is “easily among the top five reasons for broken teeth.” Can anyone say “kernels”?

We’re not going to lie—we were surprised to see many of these items featured on the list. Who knew crackers were so bad for your mouth?!

We can’t wait to get your take on these tooth-busters. Were you surprised by any of the items that made the list? Has your dentist ever told you to avoid noshing on any of them? How do you keep your chompers pristine?