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Texas Bill Might Stop You From Drinking at the Dentist

Texas Bill Might Stop You From Drinking at the Dentist


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If passed, the bill will take effect on September 1

The bill to prohibit the offering of alcoholic beverages to patients was initially proposed by Texas state Senator Lois Kolkhorst.

If you’ve ever knocked back a drink or two at the dentist, you aren’t alone — some dental offices offer patients complimentary drinks to help take the edge off from dentist anxieties or for parents waiting during their child’s appointment. However, this health care happy hour may come to an end in Texas with a proposed bill (SB404) which aims to prohibit the health care amenity.

Recently, a committee voted to move forward with the bill and called the practice “appalling” and “irresponsible,” The Dallas Morning News reported.

"There's nothing in the code that prevents you from doing this, but I think it's a line that we can't cross," Texas state Senator Lois Kolkhorst said.

The Texas Dental Association supports the bill. Being under the influence of alcohol can not only potentially cause medical complications, but can also interfere with consenting to treatments, Dr. Matthew Roberts, chair of the group's council on legislative and regulatory affairs, told The Dallas Morning News.


25 Foods Dentists Won't Eat

Fact: Nobody looks forward to her biannual rendezvous at the dentist&rsquos. But the discomfort from the poking and scraping of routine cleanings is nothing compared to the pain (not to mention the expense) of more intensive procedures, like fillings and root canals. So wouldn't it be nice to seriously lower your chances of needing dental work with some strategic eating?

&ldquoThere are plenty of foods that people should be avoiding if they want to keep their teeth in good shape,&rdquo says Guillaume Lepine, DDS, a Massachusetts-based dentist. We polled some of the top oral hygiene experts in the country to find out what&rsquos not in their kitchen&mdashand how they prevent food-related tooth damage whenever naughty nibbles do manage to make it past their lips.

Your favorite sugary soda is a total smile saboteur. &ldquoMost contain an acid that can weaken tooth enamel&mdasheven diet soda,&rdquo explains John F. Buzzatto, DMD, MDS, president of the American Association of Orthodontists. If you must indulge, drink through a straw to limit soda&rsquos contact with your teeth. (Though you may want to skip the soda altogether&mdashand not just for your teeth. Check out 7 Side Effects Of Drinking Diet Soda.)

Already struggling with weak teeth? Skip crunchy fruits and veggies, which can further crack or damage fragile chompers. Apples and carrots are actually two of the biggest culprits of cracked teeth, Dr. Buzzatto notes. But don&rsquot skip these healthy treats altogether: &ldquoCut them into bite-size pieces before you enjoy them,&rdquo he recommends.

Savoring a sweet sucker might seem innocent enough, but not so fast. &ldquoSucking these candies exposes your mouth to harsh sugars for longer periods of time,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. &ldquoAnd chewing on them can break or crack teeth, fillings, and sealants.&rdquo

Sure, ice is sugar-free&mdashbut if you tend to chew on the cubes once you&rsquove finished a beverage, they can cause major damage. Dental experts say nibbling on ice is a major no-no as it can easily crack or break teeth.

Sadly, this summertime favorite is off-limits if you want your teeth to stay in one piece. Biting into corn that's on the cob can loosen or crack fillings and sealants, and damage orthodontic wires and brackets among patients with braces, Dr. Buzzatto says. And when it comes to dentures, chomping down on corn on the cob can easily dislodge the dentures. Instead of skipping corn altogether, though, simply scrape it off the cob before consuming.

More from Prevention: 5 Delicious Corn Recipes

Tooth enamel is particularly vulnerable to dark colors, including red pasta sauce&mdashporous enamel can easily absorb this coloring, leading to unsightly stains. Plus, the acidity from tomatoes makes teeth temporarily more porous. But instead of laying off the sauce, solve the problem by swishing with plenty of water while you&rsquore enjoying an Italian repast.

Sorry chardonnay fans. While the deep color of red wine can cause discoloration, white wine might actually trigger even more damage. "The acidity in wine makes teeth more susceptible to stains, and white wine is generally more acidic," says Irwin Smigel, DDS, president of the American Society for Dental Aesthetics. "This acid can leave teeth vulnerable to stains from darkly colored food."

Convinced bottled water is better than tap? Not where your teeth are concerned. &ldquoThe problem is during the purification process, water become more acidic," explains Brett Silverman, DDS, a Georgia-based dentist. "Acid and teeth equals cavities."

Your teeth might feel cleaner after you pop a mint, but the real story: &ldquoSucking on breath mints all day is like soaking your teeth in sugar,&rdquo warns Bill Dorfman, DDS, author of Billion Dollar Smile. Go sugar-free, and opt for mints sweetened with xylitol, which appears to combat bacteria associated with tooth decay.

That dentists avoid taffy and caramels like the plague isn&rsquot exactly surprising. &ldquoSticky candies get stuck between braces and teeth, allowing plaque to build up,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. Plus, a chewy candy in the wrong place at the wrong time can easily take a tooth out. But here&rsquos the good news: If you need a sugar hit, dark chocolate is soft on teeth and may combat plaque, according to recent research. (Get your tooth-friendly sugar fix with these 4 Guilt-Free Chocolate Desserts.)

Noshing a pb&j is reminiscent of childhood, but it&rsquos a surefire way to prematurely age your teeth. The high sugar content of all three ingredients means that as soon as you bite in, enamel-eroding bacteria go on a feeding frenzy. And because peanut butter and jelly are both sticky, they allow the bacteria to adhere to your teeth.

They taste light as air, but the texture of potato chips (crunchy at first, then gummy post-chewing) means they tend to linger in your mouth. When chip particles get stuck between teeth, acid-producing bacteria indulge in a snacking attack that ups your risk of tooth decay. And since we tend to nosh on chips over a long period (hey, no one can eat just one), that means a non-stop period of acid production.

So much for a refreshing glass of lemonade on the beach&mdashthe citric acid in lemons can wreak havoc on teeth. &ldquoLemonade is a destructive combination of acid and sugar that leads to tooth decay and cavities,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. &ldquoEven adding lemon slices to water can be a danger, because of the acidity it adds.&rdquo

Your favorite cinema snack is a double-pronged danger: Much like potato chips, popcorn can wedge between teeth and foster bacterial growth. Un-popped kernels are even worse. &ldquoWhen it gets to the bottom of the bag, people don&rsquot realize that biting on kernels can break your teeth,&rdquo Dr. Dorfman says.

Items like raisins, figs, and dried apricots are bursting with nutrition. Unfortunately, they&rsquore also packed with a dense dose of sugar and non-soluble cellulose fiber, which can bind and trap those sugars around the tooth to the same extent as saltwater taffy. Your best bet? Sticking with the fresh version as much as possible.

Here&rsquos another good reason to avoid refined carbohydrates, like white sandwich bread: The simple sugars quickly dissolve inside the mouth, causing a surge of acid that can erode tooth enamel. Plus, white bread takes on a gummy consistency when chewed, meaning small particles can get trapped between teeth.

A nutritious pick-me-up after your morning workout? Not quite. Sports drinks are packed with sugar and acids, Dr. Silverman says. And because we tend to swish sports drinks around in our mouths, the potential for cavities and erosion is even more significant.

They might soothe your symptoms, but many cough drops have as much sugar as hard candy, experts warn. And because you suck on them for several minutes, and tend to pop them all day long when you have a cold, dental damage can be hefty. Skip the drops in favor of soothing your throat with herbal tea and water, or opt for sugar-free drops if necessary. (A tastier way to soothe a cough? Dark chocolate. Seriously, check it out.)

From grapefruits to oranges, citrus boasts a bevy of nutrients. But they&rsquore also packed with acids that can strip your teeth, says Dr. Lepine. Drink water when you enjoy a citrus snack, and swap in essential oils&mdashwhich have less acidity&mdashinstead of the real thing when you flavor your water, he suggests.

Vinegar is in a variety of foods, including salad dressings, pickles, and other sauces. But this flavorful ingredient can also trigger tooth decay: In one recent study, teens who ate vinegar-heavy foods had a 30 to 85% increased risk of enamel erosion. Lettuce actually appears to combat the damaging effects of vinegar&mdashso keep enjoying your favorite balsamic vinaigrette on your salad without worry.

You know that a sugar-filled margarita isn&rsquot doing your waistline any favors, but what about your teeth? Much like fruit juice, sugar-heavy cocktails can lead to cavities. Plus, alcohol actually dries out the mouth&mdasheliminating any protective benefit from saliva. If you&rsquore going to indulge, opt for sugar-free mixers like soda water.

Any heavily pigmented food, like blueberries, beets, or soy sauce, can lead to tooth discoloration. But curry powder is a surprising culprit: It isn&rsquot particularly dark, but that deep pigment can stain teeth yellow over time, says Michael Paesani, DMD, a Virginia-based dentist. Enjoy your next chickpea curry with a glass of water to prevent the problem.

It&rsquos a better option than coffee, which is notorious for its potential to stain teeth. But the tannins in tea can cause stains&mdashand one recent study found that darker teas (Earl Gray, English Breakfast) are significantly more likely to do damage. Opt for green or herbal varieties instead.

Nature&rsquos candy is already sweet enough&mdashbut food manufacturers often stuff canned fruit with a ton of extra sugar. Citrus fruits packed in heavy syrup are the worst culprits, because they combine acids with a ton of cavity-causing sugar. Pick canned fruit in its own juices, or go with frozen varieties instead.

While everyone loves a piece of toast in the morning, biting into hardened toast can lead to broken teeth, Dr. Dorfman warns. Stick with lightly toasted bread, and avoid hard crusts to protect your smile.


25 Foods Dentists Won't Eat

Fact: Nobody looks forward to her biannual rendezvous at the dentist&rsquos. But the discomfort from the poking and scraping of routine cleanings is nothing compared to the pain (not to mention the expense) of more intensive procedures, like fillings and root canals. So wouldn't it be nice to seriously lower your chances of needing dental work with some strategic eating?

&ldquoThere are plenty of foods that people should be avoiding if they want to keep their teeth in good shape,&rdquo says Guillaume Lepine, DDS, a Massachusetts-based dentist. We polled some of the top oral hygiene experts in the country to find out what&rsquos not in their kitchen&mdashand how they prevent food-related tooth damage whenever naughty nibbles do manage to make it past their lips.

Your favorite sugary soda is a total smile saboteur. &ldquoMost contain an acid that can weaken tooth enamel&mdasheven diet soda,&rdquo explains John F. Buzzatto, DMD, MDS, president of the American Association of Orthodontists. If you must indulge, drink through a straw to limit soda&rsquos contact with your teeth. (Though you may want to skip the soda altogether&mdashand not just for your teeth. Check out 7 Side Effects Of Drinking Diet Soda.)

Already struggling with weak teeth? Skip crunchy fruits and veggies, which can further crack or damage fragile chompers. Apples and carrots are actually two of the biggest culprits of cracked teeth, Dr. Buzzatto notes. But don&rsquot skip these healthy treats altogether: &ldquoCut them into bite-size pieces before you enjoy them,&rdquo he recommends.

Savoring a sweet sucker might seem innocent enough, but not so fast. &ldquoSucking these candies exposes your mouth to harsh sugars for longer periods of time,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. &ldquoAnd chewing on them can break or crack teeth, fillings, and sealants.&rdquo

Sure, ice is sugar-free&mdashbut if you tend to chew on the cubes once you&rsquove finished a beverage, they can cause major damage. Dental experts say nibbling on ice is a major no-no as it can easily crack or break teeth.

Sadly, this summertime favorite is off-limits if you want your teeth to stay in one piece. Biting into corn that's on the cob can loosen or crack fillings and sealants, and damage orthodontic wires and brackets among patients with braces, Dr. Buzzatto says. And when it comes to dentures, chomping down on corn on the cob can easily dislodge the dentures. Instead of skipping corn altogether, though, simply scrape it off the cob before consuming.

More from Prevention: 5 Delicious Corn Recipes

Tooth enamel is particularly vulnerable to dark colors, including red pasta sauce&mdashporous enamel can easily absorb this coloring, leading to unsightly stains. Plus, the acidity from tomatoes makes teeth temporarily more porous. But instead of laying off the sauce, solve the problem by swishing with plenty of water while you&rsquore enjoying an Italian repast.

Sorry chardonnay fans. While the deep color of red wine can cause discoloration, white wine might actually trigger even more damage. "The acidity in wine makes teeth more susceptible to stains, and white wine is generally more acidic," says Irwin Smigel, DDS, president of the American Society for Dental Aesthetics. "This acid can leave teeth vulnerable to stains from darkly colored food."

Convinced bottled water is better than tap? Not where your teeth are concerned. &ldquoThe problem is during the purification process, water become more acidic," explains Brett Silverman, DDS, a Georgia-based dentist. "Acid and teeth equals cavities."

Your teeth might feel cleaner after you pop a mint, but the real story: &ldquoSucking on breath mints all day is like soaking your teeth in sugar,&rdquo warns Bill Dorfman, DDS, author of Billion Dollar Smile. Go sugar-free, and opt for mints sweetened with xylitol, which appears to combat bacteria associated with tooth decay.

That dentists avoid taffy and caramels like the plague isn&rsquot exactly surprising. &ldquoSticky candies get stuck between braces and teeth, allowing plaque to build up,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. Plus, a chewy candy in the wrong place at the wrong time can easily take a tooth out. But here&rsquos the good news: If you need a sugar hit, dark chocolate is soft on teeth and may combat plaque, according to recent research. (Get your tooth-friendly sugar fix with these 4 Guilt-Free Chocolate Desserts.)

Noshing a pb&j is reminiscent of childhood, but it&rsquos a surefire way to prematurely age your teeth. The high sugar content of all three ingredients means that as soon as you bite in, enamel-eroding bacteria go on a feeding frenzy. And because peanut butter and jelly are both sticky, they allow the bacteria to adhere to your teeth.

They taste light as air, but the texture of potato chips (crunchy at first, then gummy post-chewing) means they tend to linger in your mouth. When chip particles get stuck between teeth, acid-producing bacteria indulge in a snacking attack that ups your risk of tooth decay. And since we tend to nosh on chips over a long period (hey, no one can eat just one), that means a non-stop period of acid production.

So much for a refreshing glass of lemonade on the beach&mdashthe citric acid in lemons can wreak havoc on teeth. &ldquoLemonade is a destructive combination of acid and sugar that leads to tooth decay and cavities,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. &ldquoEven adding lemon slices to water can be a danger, because of the acidity it adds.&rdquo

Your favorite cinema snack is a double-pronged danger: Much like potato chips, popcorn can wedge between teeth and foster bacterial growth. Un-popped kernels are even worse. &ldquoWhen it gets to the bottom of the bag, people don&rsquot realize that biting on kernels can break your teeth,&rdquo Dr. Dorfman says.

Items like raisins, figs, and dried apricots are bursting with nutrition. Unfortunately, they&rsquore also packed with a dense dose of sugar and non-soluble cellulose fiber, which can bind and trap those sugars around the tooth to the same extent as saltwater taffy. Your best bet? Sticking with the fresh version as much as possible.

Here&rsquos another good reason to avoid refined carbohydrates, like white sandwich bread: The simple sugars quickly dissolve inside the mouth, causing a surge of acid that can erode tooth enamel. Plus, white bread takes on a gummy consistency when chewed, meaning small particles can get trapped between teeth.

A nutritious pick-me-up after your morning workout? Not quite. Sports drinks are packed with sugar and acids, Dr. Silverman says. And because we tend to swish sports drinks around in our mouths, the potential for cavities and erosion is even more significant.

They might soothe your symptoms, but many cough drops have as much sugar as hard candy, experts warn. And because you suck on them for several minutes, and tend to pop them all day long when you have a cold, dental damage can be hefty. Skip the drops in favor of soothing your throat with herbal tea and water, or opt for sugar-free drops if necessary. (A tastier way to soothe a cough? Dark chocolate. Seriously, check it out.)

From grapefruits to oranges, citrus boasts a bevy of nutrients. But they&rsquore also packed with acids that can strip your teeth, says Dr. Lepine. Drink water when you enjoy a citrus snack, and swap in essential oils&mdashwhich have less acidity&mdashinstead of the real thing when you flavor your water, he suggests.

Vinegar is in a variety of foods, including salad dressings, pickles, and other sauces. But this flavorful ingredient can also trigger tooth decay: In one recent study, teens who ate vinegar-heavy foods had a 30 to 85% increased risk of enamel erosion. Lettuce actually appears to combat the damaging effects of vinegar&mdashso keep enjoying your favorite balsamic vinaigrette on your salad without worry.

You know that a sugar-filled margarita isn&rsquot doing your waistline any favors, but what about your teeth? Much like fruit juice, sugar-heavy cocktails can lead to cavities. Plus, alcohol actually dries out the mouth&mdasheliminating any protective benefit from saliva. If you&rsquore going to indulge, opt for sugar-free mixers like soda water.

Any heavily pigmented food, like blueberries, beets, or soy sauce, can lead to tooth discoloration. But curry powder is a surprising culprit: It isn&rsquot particularly dark, but that deep pigment can stain teeth yellow over time, says Michael Paesani, DMD, a Virginia-based dentist. Enjoy your next chickpea curry with a glass of water to prevent the problem.

It&rsquos a better option than coffee, which is notorious for its potential to stain teeth. But the tannins in tea can cause stains&mdashand one recent study found that darker teas (Earl Gray, English Breakfast) are significantly more likely to do damage. Opt for green or herbal varieties instead.

Nature&rsquos candy is already sweet enough&mdashbut food manufacturers often stuff canned fruit with a ton of extra sugar. Citrus fruits packed in heavy syrup are the worst culprits, because they combine acids with a ton of cavity-causing sugar. Pick canned fruit in its own juices, or go with frozen varieties instead.

While everyone loves a piece of toast in the morning, biting into hardened toast can lead to broken teeth, Dr. Dorfman warns. Stick with lightly toasted bread, and avoid hard crusts to protect your smile.


25 Foods Dentists Won't Eat

Fact: Nobody looks forward to her biannual rendezvous at the dentist&rsquos. But the discomfort from the poking and scraping of routine cleanings is nothing compared to the pain (not to mention the expense) of more intensive procedures, like fillings and root canals. So wouldn't it be nice to seriously lower your chances of needing dental work with some strategic eating?

&ldquoThere are plenty of foods that people should be avoiding if they want to keep their teeth in good shape,&rdquo says Guillaume Lepine, DDS, a Massachusetts-based dentist. We polled some of the top oral hygiene experts in the country to find out what&rsquos not in their kitchen&mdashand how they prevent food-related tooth damage whenever naughty nibbles do manage to make it past their lips.

Your favorite sugary soda is a total smile saboteur. &ldquoMost contain an acid that can weaken tooth enamel&mdasheven diet soda,&rdquo explains John F. Buzzatto, DMD, MDS, president of the American Association of Orthodontists. If you must indulge, drink through a straw to limit soda&rsquos contact with your teeth. (Though you may want to skip the soda altogether&mdashand not just for your teeth. Check out 7 Side Effects Of Drinking Diet Soda.)

Already struggling with weak teeth? Skip crunchy fruits and veggies, which can further crack or damage fragile chompers. Apples and carrots are actually two of the biggest culprits of cracked teeth, Dr. Buzzatto notes. But don&rsquot skip these healthy treats altogether: &ldquoCut them into bite-size pieces before you enjoy them,&rdquo he recommends.

Savoring a sweet sucker might seem innocent enough, but not so fast. &ldquoSucking these candies exposes your mouth to harsh sugars for longer periods of time,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. &ldquoAnd chewing on them can break or crack teeth, fillings, and sealants.&rdquo

Sure, ice is sugar-free&mdashbut if you tend to chew on the cubes once you&rsquove finished a beverage, they can cause major damage. Dental experts say nibbling on ice is a major no-no as it can easily crack or break teeth.

Sadly, this summertime favorite is off-limits if you want your teeth to stay in one piece. Biting into corn that's on the cob can loosen or crack fillings and sealants, and damage orthodontic wires and brackets among patients with braces, Dr. Buzzatto says. And when it comes to dentures, chomping down on corn on the cob can easily dislodge the dentures. Instead of skipping corn altogether, though, simply scrape it off the cob before consuming.

More from Prevention: 5 Delicious Corn Recipes

Tooth enamel is particularly vulnerable to dark colors, including red pasta sauce&mdashporous enamel can easily absorb this coloring, leading to unsightly stains. Plus, the acidity from tomatoes makes teeth temporarily more porous. But instead of laying off the sauce, solve the problem by swishing with plenty of water while you&rsquore enjoying an Italian repast.

Sorry chardonnay fans. While the deep color of red wine can cause discoloration, white wine might actually trigger even more damage. "The acidity in wine makes teeth more susceptible to stains, and white wine is generally more acidic," says Irwin Smigel, DDS, president of the American Society for Dental Aesthetics. "This acid can leave teeth vulnerable to stains from darkly colored food."

Convinced bottled water is better than tap? Not where your teeth are concerned. &ldquoThe problem is during the purification process, water become more acidic," explains Brett Silverman, DDS, a Georgia-based dentist. "Acid and teeth equals cavities."

Your teeth might feel cleaner after you pop a mint, but the real story: &ldquoSucking on breath mints all day is like soaking your teeth in sugar,&rdquo warns Bill Dorfman, DDS, author of Billion Dollar Smile. Go sugar-free, and opt for mints sweetened with xylitol, which appears to combat bacteria associated with tooth decay.

That dentists avoid taffy and caramels like the plague isn&rsquot exactly surprising. &ldquoSticky candies get stuck between braces and teeth, allowing plaque to build up,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. Plus, a chewy candy in the wrong place at the wrong time can easily take a tooth out. But here&rsquos the good news: If you need a sugar hit, dark chocolate is soft on teeth and may combat plaque, according to recent research. (Get your tooth-friendly sugar fix with these 4 Guilt-Free Chocolate Desserts.)

Noshing a pb&j is reminiscent of childhood, but it&rsquos a surefire way to prematurely age your teeth. The high sugar content of all three ingredients means that as soon as you bite in, enamel-eroding bacteria go on a feeding frenzy. And because peanut butter and jelly are both sticky, they allow the bacteria to adhere to your teeth.

They taste light as air, but the texture of potato chips (crunchy at first, then gummy post-chewing) means they tend to linger in your mouth. When chip particles get stuck between teeth, acid-producing bacteria indulge in a snacking attack that ups your risk of tooth decay. And since we tend to nosh on chips over a long period (hey, no one can eat just one), that means a non-stop period of acid production.

So much for a refreshing glass of lemonade on the beach&mdashthe citric acid in lemons can wreak havoc on teeth. &ldquoLemonade is a destructive combination of acid and sugar that leads to tooth decay and cavities,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. &ldquoEven adding lemon slices to water can be a danger, because of the acidity it adds.&rdquo

Your favorite cinema snack is a double-pronged danger: Much like potato chips, popcorn can wedge between teeth and foster bacterial growth. Un-popped kernels are even worse. &ldquoWhen it gets to the bottom of the bag, people don&rsquot realize that biting on kernels can break your teeth,&rdquo Dr. Dorfman says.

Items like raisins, figs, and dried apricots are bursting with nutrition. Unfortunately, they&rsquore also packed with a dense dose of sugar and non-soluble cellulose fiber, which can bind and trap those sugars around the tooth to the same extent as saltwater taffy. Your best bet? Sticking with the fresh version as much as possible.

Here&rsquos another good reason to avoid refined carbohydrates, like white sandwich bread: The simple sugars quickly dissolve inside the mouth, causing a surge of acid that can erode tooth enamel. Plus, white bread takes on a gummy consistency when chewed, meaning small particles can get trapped between teeth.

A nutritious pick-me-up after your morning workout? Not quite. Sports drinks are packed with sugar and acids, Dr. Silverman says. And because we tend to swish sports drinks around in our mouths, the potential for cavities and erosion is even more significant.

They might soothe your symptoms, but many cough drops have as much sugar as hard candy, experts warn. And because you suck on them for several minutes, and tend to pop them all day long when you have a cold, dental damage can be hefty. Skip the drops in favor of soothing your throat with herbal tea and water, or opt for sugar-free drops if necessary. (A tastier way to soothe a cough? Dark chocolate. Seriously, check it out.)

From grapefruits to oranges, citrus boasts a bevy of nutrients. But they&rsquore also packed with acids that can strip your teeth, says Dr. Lepine. Drink water when you enjoy a citrus snack, and swap in essential oils&mdashwhich have less acidity&mdashinstead of the real thing when you flavor your water, he suggests.

Vinegar is in a variety of foods, including salad dressings, pickles, and other sauces. But this flavorful ingredient can also trigger tooth decay: In one recent study, teens who ate vinegar-heavy foods had a 30 to 85% increased risk of enamel erosion. Lettuce actually appears to combat the damaging effects of vinegar&mdashso keep enjoying your favorite balsamic vinaigrette on your salad without worry.

You know that a sugar-filled margarita isn&rsquot doing your waistline any favors, but what about your teeth? Much like fruit juice, sugar-heavy cocktails can lead to cavities. Plus, alcohol actually dries out the mouth&mdasheliminating any protective benefit from saliva. If you&rsquore going to indulge, opt for sugar-free mixers like soda water.

Any heavily pigmented food, like blueberries, beets, or soy sauce, can lead to tooth discoloration. But curry powder is a surprising culprit: It isn&rsquot particularly dark, but that deep pigment can stain teeth yellow over time, says Michael Paesani, DMD, a Virginia-based dentist. Enjoy your next chickpea curry with a glass of water to prevent the problem.

It&rsquos a better option than coffee, which is notorious for its potential to stain teeth. But the tannins in tea can cause stains&mdashand one recent study found that darker teas (Earl Gray, English Breakfast) are significantly more likely to do damage. Opt for green or herbal varieties instead.

Nature&rsquos candy is already sweet enough&mdashbut food manufacturers often stuff canned fruit with a ton of extra sugar. Citrus fruits packed in heavy syrup are the worst culprits, because they combine acids with a ton of cavity-causing sugar. Pick canned fruit in its own juices, or go with frozen varieties instead.

While everyone loves a piece of toast in the morning, biting into hardened toast can lead to broken teeth, Dr. Dorfman warns. Stick with lightly toasted bread, and avoid hard crusts to protect your smile.


25 Foods Dentists Won't Eat

Fact: Nobody looks forward to her biannual rendezvous at the dentist&rsquos. But the discomfort from the poking and scraping of routine cleanings is nothing compared to the pain (not to mention the expense) of more intensive procedures, like fillings and root canals. So wouldn't it be nice to seriously lower your chances of needing dental work with some strategic eating?

&ldquoThere are plenty of foods that people should be avoiding if they want to keep their teeth in good shape,&rdquo says Guillaume Lepine, DDS, a Massachusetts-based dentist. We polled some of the top oral hygiene experts in the country to find out what&rsquos not in their kitchen&mdashand how they prevent food-related tooth damage whenever naughty nibbles do manage to make it past their lips.

Your favorite sugary soda is a total smile saboteur. &ldquoMost contain an acid that can weaken tooth enamel&mdasheven diet soda,&rdquo explains John F. Buzzatto, DMD, MDS, president of the American Association of Orthodontists. If you must indulge, drink through a straw to limit soda&rsquos contact with your teeth. (Though you may want to skip the soda altogether&mdashand not just for your teeth. Check out 7 Side Effects Of Drinking Diet Soda.)

Already struggling with weak teeth? Skip crunchy fruits and veggies, which can further crack or damage fragile chompers. Apples and carrots are actually two of the biggest culprits of cracked teeth, Dr. Buzzatto notes. But don&rsquot skip these healthy treats altogether: &ldquoCut them into bite-size pieces before you enjoy them,&rdquo he recommends.

Savoring a sweet sucker might seem innocent enough, but not so fast. &ldquoSucking these candies exposes your mouth to harsh sugars for longer periods of time,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. &ldquoAnd chewing on them can break or crack teeth, fillings, and sealants.&rdquo

Sure, ice is sugar-free&mdashbut if you tend to chew on the cubes once you&rsquove finished a beverage, they can cause major damage. Dental experts say nibbling on ice is a major no-no as it can easily crack or break teeth.

Sadly, this summertime favorite is off-limits if you want your teeth to stay in one piece. Biting into corn that's on the cob can loosen or crack fillings and sealants, and damage orthodontic wires and brackets among patients with braces, Dr. Buzzatto says. And when it comes to dentures, chomping down on corn on the cob can easily dislodge the dentures. Instead of skipping corn altogether, though, simply scrape it off the cob before consuming.

More from Prevention: 5 Delicious Corn Recipes

Tooth enamel is particularly vulnerable to dark colors, including red pasta sauce&mdashporous enamel can easily absorb this coloring, leading to unsightly stains. Plus, the acidity from tomatoes makes teeth temporarily more porous. But instead of laying off the sauce, solve the problem by swishing with plenty of water while you&rsquore enjoying an Italian repast.

Sorry chardonnay fans. While the deep color of red wine can cause discoloration, white wine might actually trigger even more damage. "The acidity in wine makes teeth more susceptible to stains, and white wine is generally more acidic," says Irwin Smigel, DDS, president of the American Society for Dental Aesthetics. "This acid can leave teeth vulnerable to stains from darkly colored food."

Convinced bottled water is better than tap? Not where your teeth are concerned. &ldquoThe problem is during the purification process, water become more acidic," explains Brett Silverman, DDS, a Georgia-based dentist. "Acid and teeth equals cavities."

Your teeth might feel cleaner after you pop a mint, but the real story: &ldquoSucking on breath mints all day is like soaking your teeth in sugar,&rdquo warns Bill Dorfman, DDS, author of Billion Dollar Smile. Go sugar-free, and opt for mints sweetened with xylitol, which appears to combat bacteria associated with tooth decay.

That dentists avoid taffy and caramels like the plague isn&rsquot exactly surprising. &ldquoSticky candies get stuck between braces and teeth, allowing plaque to build up,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. Plus, a chewy candy in the wrong place at the wrong time can easily take a tooth out. But here&rsquos the good news: If you need a sugar hit, dark chocolate is soft on teeth and may combat plaque, according to recent research. (Get your tooth-friendly sugar fix with these 4 Guilt-Free Chocolate Desserts.)

Noshing a pb&j is reminiscent of childhood, but it&rsquos a surefire way to prematurely age your teeth. The high sugar content of all three ingredients means that as soon as you bite in, enamel-eroding bacteria go on a feeding frenzy. And because peanut butter and jelly are both sticky, they allow the bacteria to adhere to your teeth.

They taste light as air, but the texture of potato chips (crunchy at first, then gummy post-chewing) means they tend to linger in your mouth. When chip particles get stuck between teeth, acid-producing bacteria indulge in a snacking attack that ups your risk of tooth decay. And since we tend to nosh on chips over a long period (hey, no one can eat just one), that means a non-stop period of acid production.

So much for a refreshing glass of lemonade on the beach&mdashthe citric acid in lemons can wreak havoc on teeth. &ldquoLemonade is a destructive combination of acid and sugar that leads to tooth decay and cavities,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. &ldquoEven adding lemon slices to water can be a danger, because of the acidity it adds.&rdquo

Your favorite cinema snack is a double-pronged danger: Much like potato chips, popcorn can wedge between teeth and foster bacterial growth. Un-popped kernels are even worse. &ldquoWhen it gets to the bottom of the bag, people don&rsquot realize that biting on kernels can break your teeth,&rdquo Dr. Dorfman says.

Items like raisins, figs, and dried apricots are bursting with nutrition. Unfortunately, they&rsquore also packed with a dense dose of sugar and non-soluble cellulose fiber, which can bind and trap those sugars around the tooth to the same extent as saltwater taffy. Your best bet? Sticking with the fresh version as much as possible.

Here&rsquos another good reason to avoid refined carbohydrates, like white sandwich bread: The simple sugars quickly dissolve inside the mouth, causing a surge of acid that can erode tooth enamel. Plus, white bread takes on a gummy consistency when chewed, meaning small particles can get trapped between teeth.

A nutritious pick-me-up after your morning workout? Not quite. Sports drinks are packed with sugar and acids, Dr. Silverman says. And because we tend to swish sports drinks around in our mouths, the potential for cavities and erosion is even more significant.

They might soothe your symptoms, but many cough drops have as much sugar as hard candy, experts warn. And because you suck on them for several minutes, and tend to pop them all day long when you have a cold, dental damage can be hefty. Skip the drops in favor of soothing your throat with herbal tea and water, or opt for sugar-free drops if necessary. (A tastier way to soothe a cough? Dark chocolate. Seriously, check it out.)

From grapefruits to oranges, citrus boasts a bevy of nutrients. But they&rsquore also packed with acids that can strip your teeth, says Dr. Lepine. Drink water when you enjoy a citrus snack, and swap in essential oils&mdashwhich have less acidity&mdashinstead of the real thing when you flavor your water, he suggests.

Vinegar is in a variety of foods, including salad dressings, pickles, and other sauces. But this flavorful ingredient can also trigger tooth decay: In one recent study, teens who ate vinegar-heavy foods had a 30 to 85% increased risk of enamel erosion. Lettuce actually appears to combat the damaging effects of vinegar&mdashso keep enjoying your favorite balsamic vinaigrette on your salad without worry.

You know that a sugar-filled margarita isn&rsquot doing your waistline any favors, but what about your teeth? Much like fruit juice, sugar-heavy cocktails can lead to cavities. Plus, alcohol actually dries out the mouth&mdasheliminating any protective benefit from saliva. If you&rsquore going to indulge, opt for sugar-free mixers like soda water.

Any heavily pigmented food, like blueberries, beets, or soy sauce, can lead to tooth discoloration. But curry powder is a surprising culprit: It isn&rsquot particularly dark, but that deep pigment can stain teeth yellow over time, says Michael Paesani, DMD, a Virginia-based dentist. Enjoy your next chickpea curry with a glass of water to prevent the problem.

It&rsquos a better option than coffee, which is notorious for its potential to stain teeth. But the tannins in tea can cause stains&mdashand one recent study found that darker teas (Earl Gray, English Breakfast) are significantly more likely to do damage. Opt for green or herbal varieties instead.

Nature&rsquos candy is already sweet enough&mdashbut food manufacturers often stuff canned fruit with a ton of extra sugar. Citrus fruits packed in heavy syrup are the worst culprits, because they combine acids with a ton of cavity-causing sugar. Pick canned fruit in its own juices, or go with frozen varieties instead.

While everyone loves a piece of toast in the morning, biting into hardened toast can lead to broken teeth, Dr. Dorfman warns. Stick with lightly toasted bread, and avoid hard crusts to protect your smile.


25 Foods Dentists Won't Eat

Fact: Nobody looks forward to her biannual rendezvous at the dentist&rsquos. But the discomfort from the poking and scraping of routine cleanings is nothing compared to the pain (not to mention the expense) of more intensive procedures, like fillings and root canals. So wouldn't it be nice to seriously lower your chances of needing dental work with some strategic eating?

&ldquoThere are plenty of foods that people should be avoiding if they want to keep their teeth in good shape,&rdquo says Guillaume Lepine, DDS, a Massachusetts-based dentist. We polled some of the top oral hygiene experts in the country to find out what&rsquos not in their kitchen&mdashand how they prevent food-related tooth damage whenever naughty nibbles do manage to make it past their lips.

Your favorite sugary soda is a total smile saboteur. &ldquoMost contain an acid that can weaken tooth enamel&mdasheven diet soda,&rdquo explains John F. Buzzatto, DMD, MDS, president of the American Association of Orthodontists. If you must indulge, drink through a straw to limit soda&rsquos contact with your teeth. (Though you may want to skip the soda altogether&mdashand not just for your teeth. Check out 7 Side Effects Of Drinking Diet Soda.)

Already struggling with weak teeth? Skip crunchy fruits and veggies, which can further crack or damage fragile chompers. Apples and carrots are actually two of the biggest culprits of cracked teeth, Dr. Buzzatto notes. But don&rsquot skip these healthy treats altogether: &ldquoCut them into bite-size pieces before you enjoy them,&rdquo he recommends.

Savoring a sweet sucker might seem innocent enough, but not so fast. &ldquoSucking these candies exposes your mouth to harsh sugars for longer periods of time,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. &ldquoAnd chewing on them can break or crack teeth, fillings, and sealants.&rdquo

Sure, ice is sugar-free&mdashbut if you tend to chew on the cubes once you&rsquove finished a beverage, they can cause major damage. Dental experts say nibbling on ice is a major no-no as it can easily crack or break teeth.

Sadly, this summertime favorite is off-limits if you want your teeth to stay in one piece. Biting into corn that's on the cob can loosen or crack fillings and sealants, and damage orthodontic wires and brackets among patients with braces, Dr. Buzzatto says. And when it comes to dentures, chomping down on corn on the cob can easily dislodge the dentures. Instead of skipping corn altogether, though, simply scrape it off the cob before consuming.

More from Prevention: 5 Delicious Corn Recipes

Tooth enamel is particularly vulnerable to dark colors, including red pasta sauce&mdashporous enamel can easily absorb this coloring, leading to unsightly stains. Plus, the acidity from tomatoes makes teeth temporarily more porous. But instead of laying off the sauce, solve the problem by swishing with plenty of water while you&rsquore enjoying an Italian repast.

Sorry chardonnay fans. While the deep color of red wine can cause discoloration, white wine might actually trigger even more damage. "The acidity in wine makes teeth more susceptible to stains, and white wine is generally more acidic," says Irwin Smigel, DDS, president of the American Society for Dental Aesthetics. "This acid can leave teeth vulnerable to stains from darkly colored food."

Convinced bottled water is better than tap? Not where your teeth are concerned. &ldquoThe problem is during the purification process, water become more acidic," explains Brett Silverman, DDS, a Georgia-based dentist. "Acid and teeth equals cavities."

Your teeth might feel cleaner after you pop a mint, but the real story: &ldquoSucking on breath mints all day is like soaking your teeth in sugar,&rdquo warns Bill Dorfman, DDS, author of Billion Dollar Smile. Go sugar-free, and opt for mints sweetened with xylitol, which appears to combat bacteria associated with tooth decay.

That dentists avoid taffy and caramels like the plague isn&rsquot exactly surprising. &ldquoSticky candies get stuck between braces and teeth, allowing plaque to build up,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. Plus, a chewy candy in the wrong place at the wrong time can easily take a tooth out. But here&rsquos the good news: If you need a sugar hit, dark chocolate is soft on teeth and may combat plaque, according to recent research. (Get your tooth-friendly sugar fix with these 4 Guilt-Free Chocolate Desserts.)

Noshing a pb&j is reminiscent of childhood, but it&rsquos a surefire way to prematurely age your teeth. The high sugar content of all three ingredients means that as soon as you bite in, enamel-eroding bacteria go on a feeding frenzy. And because peanut butter and jelly are both sticky, they allow the bacteria to adhere to your teeth.

They taste light as air, but the texture of potato chips (crunchy at first, then gummy post-chewing) means they tend to linger in your mouth. When chip particles get stuck between teeth, acid-producing bacteria indulge in a snacking attack that ups your risk of tooth decay. And since we tend to nosh on chips over a long period (hey, no one can eat just one), that means a non-stop period of acid production.

So much for a refreshing glass of lemonade on the beach&mdashthe citric acid in lemons can wreak havoc on teeth. &ldquoLemonade is a destructive combination of acid and sugar that leads to tooth decay and cavities,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. &ldquoEven adding lemon slices to water can be a danger, because of the acidity it adds.&rdquo

Your favorite cinema snack is a double-pronged danger: Much like potato chips, popcorn can wedge between teeth and foster bacterial growth. Un-popped kernels are even worse. &ldquoWhen it gets to the bottom of the bag, people don&rsquot realize that biting on kernels can break your teeth,&rdquo Dr. Dorfman says.

Items like raisins, figs, and dried apricots are bursting with nutrition. Unfortunately, they&rsquore also packed with a dense dose of sugar and non-soluble cellulose fiber, which can bind and trap those sugars around the tooth to the same extent as saltwater taffy. Your best bet? Sticking with the fresh version as much as possible.

Here&rsquos another good reason to avoid refined carbohydrates, like white sandwich bread: The simple sugars quickly dissolve inside the mouth, causing a surge of acid that can erode tooth enamel. Plus, white bread takes on a gummy consistency when chewed, meaning small particles can get trapped between teeth.

A nutritious pick-me-up after your morning workout? Not quite. Sports drinks are packed with sugar and acids, Dr. Silverman says. And because we tend to swish sports drinks around in our mouths, the potential for cavities and erosion is even more significant.

They might soothe your symptoms, but many cough drops have as much sugar as hard candy, experts warn. And because you suck on them for several minutes, and tend to pop them all day long when you have a cold, dental damage can be hefty. Skip the drops in favor of soothing your throat with herbal tea and water, or opt for sugar-free drops if necessary. (A tastier way to soothe a cough? Dark chocolate. Seriously, check it out.)

From grapefruits to oranges, citrus boasts a bevy of nutrients. But they&rsquore also packed with acids that can strip your teeth, says Dr. Lepine. Drink water when you enjoy a citrus snack, and swap in essential oils&mdashwhich have less acidity&mdashinstead of the real thing when you flavor your water, he suggests.

Vinegar is in a variety of foods, including salad dressings, pickles, and other sauces. But this flavorful ingredient can also trigger tooth decay: In one recent study, teens who ate vinegar-heavy foods had a 30 to 85% increased risk of enamel erosion. Lettuce actually appears to combat the damaging effects of vinegar&mdashso keep enjoying your favorite balsamic vinaigrette on your salad without worry.

You know that a sugar-filled margarita isn&rsquot doing your waistline any favors, but what about your teeth? Much like fruit juice, sugar-heavy cocktails can lead to cavities. Plus, alcohol actually dries out the mouth&mdasheliminating any protective benefit from saliva. If you&rsquore going to indulge, opt for sugar-free mixers like soda water.

Any heavily pigmented food, like blueberries, beets, or soy sauce, can lead to tooth discoloration. But curry powder is a surprising culprit: It isn&rsquot particularly dark, but that deep pigment can stain teeth yellow over time, says Michael Paesani, DMD, a Virginia-based dentist. Enjoy your next chickpea curry with a glass of water to prevent the problem.

It&rsquos a better option than coffee, which is notorious for its potential to stain teeth. But the tannins in tea can cause stains&mdashand one recent study found that darker teas (Earl Gray, English Breakfast) are significantly more likely to do damage. Opt for green or herbal varieties instead.

Nature&rsquos candy is already sweet enough&mdashbut food manufacturers often stuff canned fruit with a ton of extra sugar. Citrus fruits packed in heavy syrup are the worst culprits, because they combine acids with a ton of cavity-causing sugar. Pick canned fruit in its own juices, or go with frozen varieties instead.

While everyone loves a piece of toast in the morning, biting into hardened toast can lead to broken teeth, Dr. Dorfman warns. Stick with lightly toasted bread, and avoid hard crusts to protect your smile.


25 Foods Dentists Won't Eat

Fact: Nobody looks forward to her biannual rendezvous at the dentist&rsquos. But the discomfort from the poking and scraping of routine cleanings is nothing compared to the pain (not to mention the expense) of more intensive procedures, like fillings and root canals. So wouldn't it be nice to seriously lower your chances of needing dental work with some strategic eating?

&ldquoThere are plenty of foods that people should be avoiding if they want to keep their teeth in good shape,&rdquo says Guillaume Lepine, DDS, a Massachusetts-based dentist. We polled some of the top oral hygiene experts in the country to find out what&rsquos not in their kitchen&mdashand how they prevent food-related tooth damage whenever naughty nibbles do manage to make it past their lips.

Your favorite sugary soda is a total smile saboteur. &ldquoMost contain an acid that can weaken tooth enamel&mdasheven diet soda,&rdquo explains John F. Buzzatto, DMD, MDS, president of the American Association of Orthodontists. If you must indulge, drink through a straw to limit soda&rsquos contact with your teeth. (Though you may want to skip the soda altogether&mdashand not just for your teeth. Check out 7 Side Effects Of Drinking Diet Soda.)

Already struggling with weak teeth? Skip crunchy fruits and veggies, which can further crack or damage fragile chompers. Apples and carrots are actually two of the biggest culprits of cracked teeth, Dr. Buzzatto notes. But don&rsquot skip these healthy treats altogether: &ldquoCut them into bite-size pieces before you enjoy them,&rdquo he recommends.

Savoring a sweet sucker might seem innocent enough, but not so fast. &ldquoSucking these candies exposes your mouth to harsh sugars for longer periods of time,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. &ldquoAnd chewing on them can break or crack teeth, fillings, and sealants.&rdquo

Sure, ice is sugar-free&mdashbut if you tend to chew on the cubes once you&rsquove finished a beverage, they can cause major damage. Dental experts say nibbling on ice is a major no-no as it can easily crack or break teeth.

Sadly, this summertime favorite is off-limits if you want your teeth to stay in one piece. Biting into corn that's on the cob can loosen or crack fillings and sealants, and damage orthodontic wires and brackets among patients with braces, Dr. Buzzatto says. And when it comes to dentures, chomping down on corn on the cob can easily dislodge the dentures. Instead of skipping corn altogether, though, simply scrape it off the cob before consuming.

More from Prevention: 5 Delicious Corn Recipes

Tooth enamel is particularly vulnerable to dark colors, including red pasta sauce&mdashporous enamel can easily absorb this coloring, leading to unsightly stains. Plus, the acidity from tomatoes makes teeth temporarily more porous. But instead of laying off the sauce, solve the problem by swishing with plenty of water while you&rsquore enjoying an Italian repast.

Sorry chardonnay fans. While the deep color of red wine can cause discoloration, white wine might actually trigger even more damage. "The acidity in wine makes teeth more susceptible to stains, and white wine is generally more acidic," says Irwin Smigel, DDS, president of the American Society for Dental Aesthetics. "This acid can leave teeth vulnerable to stains from darkly colored food."

Convinced bottled water is better than tap? Not where your teeth are concerned. &ldquoThe problem is during the purification process, water become more acidic," explains Brett Silverman, DDS, a Georgia-based dentist. "Acid and teeth equals cavities."

Your teeth might feel cleaner after you pop a mint, but the real story: &ldquoSucking on breath mints all day is like soaking your teeth in sugar,&rdquo warns Bill Dorfman, DDS, author of Billion Dollar Smile. Go sugar-free, and opt for mints sweetened with xylitol, which appears to combat bacteria associated with tooth decay.

That dentists avoid taffy and caramels like the plague isn&rsquot exactly surprising. &ldquoSticky candies get stuck between braces and teeth, allowing plaque to build up,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. Plus, a chewy candy in the wrong place at the wrong time can easily take a tooth out. But here&rsquos the good news: If you need a sugar hit, dark chocolate is soft on teeth and may combat plaque, according to recent research. (Get your tooth-friendly sugar fix with these 4 Guilt-Free Chocolate Desserts.)

Noshing a pb&j is reminiscent of childhood, but it&rsquos a surefire way to prematurely age your teeth. The high sugar content of all three ingredients means that as soon as you bite in, enamel-eroding bacteria go on a feeding frenzy. And because peanut butter and jelly are both sticky, they allow the bacteria to adhere to your teeth.

They taste light as air, but the texture of potato chips (crunchy at first, then gummy post-chewing) means they tend to linger in your mouth. When chip particles get stuck between teeth, acid-producing bacteria indulge in a snacking attack that ups your risk of tooth decay. And since we tend to nosh on chips over a long period (hey, no one can eat just one), that means a non-stop period of acid production.

So much for a refreshing glass of lemonade on the beach&mdashthe citric acid in lemons can wreak havoc on teeth. &ldquoLemonade is a destructive combination of acid and sugar that leads to tooth decay and cavities,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. &ldquoEven adding lemon slices to water can be a danger, because of the acidity it adds.&rdquo

Your favorite cinema snack is a double-pronged danger: Much like potato chips, popcorn can wedge between teeth and foster bacterial growth. Un-popped kernels are even worse. &ldquoWhen it gets to the bottom of the bag, people don&rsquot realize that biting on kernels can break your teeth,&rdquo Dr. Dorfman says.

Items like raisins, figs, and dried apricots are bursting with nutrition. Unfortunately, they&rsquore also packed with a dense dose of sugar and non-soluble cellulose fiber, which can bind and trap those sugars around the tooth to the same extent as saltwater taffy. Your best bet? Sticking with the fresh version as much as possible.

Here&rsquos another good reason to avoid refined carbohydrates, like white sandwich bread: The simple sugars quickly dissolve inside the mouth, causing a surge of acid that can erode tooth enamel. Plus, white bread takes on a gummy consistency when chewed, meaning small particles can get trapped between teeth.

A nutritious pick-me-up after your morning workout? Not quite. Sports drinks are packed with sugar and acids, Dr. Silverman says. And because we tend to swish sports drinks around in our mouths, the potential for cavities and erosion is even more significant.

They might soothe your symptoms, but many cough drops have as much sugar as hard candy, experts warn. And because you suck on them for several minutes, and tend to pop them all day long when you have a cold, dental damage can be hefty. Skip the drops in favor of soothing your throat with herbal tea and water, or opt for sugar-free drops if necessary. (A tastier way to soothe a cough? Dark chocolate. Seriously, check it out.)

From grapefruits to oranges, citrus boasts a bevy of nutrients. But they&rsquore also packed with acids that can strip your teeth, says Dr. Lepine. Drink water when you enjoy a citrus snack, and swap in essential oils&mdashwhich have less acidity&mdashinstead of the real thing when you flavor your water, he suggests.

Vinegar is in a variety of foods, including salad dressings, pickles, and other sauces. But this flavorful ingredient can also trigger tooth decay: In one recent study, teens who ate vinegar-heavy foods had a 30 to 85% increased risk of enamel erosion. Lettuce actually appears to combat the damaging effects of vinegar&mdashso keep enjoying your favorite balsamic vinaigrette on your salad without worry.

You know that a sugar-filled margarita isn&rsquot doing your waistline any favors, but what about your teeth? Much like fruit juice, sugar-heavy cocktails can lead to cavities. Plus, alcohol actually dries out the mouth&mdasheliminating any protective benefit from saliva. If you&rsquore going to indulge, opt for sugar-free mixers like soda water.

Any heavily pigmented food, like blueberries, beets, or soy sauce, can lead to tooth discoloration. But curry powder is a surprising culprit: It isn&rsquot particularly dark, but that deep pigment can stain teeth yellow over time, says Michael Paesani, DMD, a Virginia-based dentist. Enjoy your next chickpea curry with a glass of water to prevent the problem.

It&rsquos a better option than coffee, which is notorious for its potential to stain teeth. But the tannins in tea can cause stains&mdashand one recent study found that darker teas (Earl Gray, English Breakfast) are significantly more likely to do damage. Opt for green or herbal varieties instead.

Nature&rsquos candy is already sweet enough&mdashbut food manufacturers often stuff canned fruit with a ton of extra sugar. Citrus fruits packed in heavy syrup are the worst culprits, because they combine acids with a ton of cavity-causing sugar. Pick canned fruit in its own juices, or go with frozen varieties instead.

While everyone loves a piece of toast in the morning, biting into hardened toast can lead to broken teeth, Dr. Dorfman warns. Stick with lightly toasted bread, and avoid hard crusts to protect your smile.


25 Foods Dentists Won't Eat

Fact: Nobody looks forward to her biannual rendezvous at the dentist&rsquos. But the discomfort from the poking and scraping of routine cleanings is nothing compared to the pain (not to mention the expense) of more intensive procedures, like fillings and root canals. So wouldn't it be nice to seriously lower your chances of needing dental work with some strategic eating?

&ldquoThere are plenty of foods that people should be avoiding if they want to keep their teeth in good shape,&rdquo says Guillaume Lepine, DDS, a Massachusetts-based dentist. We polled some of the top oral hygiene experts in the country to find out what&rsquos not in their kitchen&mdashand how they prevent food-related tooth damage whenever naughty nibbles do manage to make it past their lips.

Your favorite sugary soda is a total smile saboteur. &ldquoMost contain an acid that can weaken tooth enamel&mdasheven diet soda,&rdquo explains John F. Buzzatto, DMD, MDS, president of the American Association of Orthodontists. If you must indulge, drink through a straw to limit soda&rsquos contact with your teeth. (Though you may want to skip the soda altogether&mdashand not just for your teeth. Check out 7 Side Effects Of Drinking Diet Soda.)

Already struggling with weak teeth? Skip crunchy fruits and veggies, which can further crack or damage fragile chompers. Apples and carrots are actually two of the biggest culprits of cracked teeth, Dr. Buzzatto notes. But don&rsquot skip these healthy treats altogether: &ldquoCut them into bite-size pieces before you enjoy them,&rdquo he recommends.

Savoring a sweet sucker might seem innocent enough, but not so fast. &ldquoSucking these candies exposes your mouth to harsh sugars for longer periods of time,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. &ldquoAnd chewing on them can break or crack teeth, fillings, and sealants.&rdquo

Sure, ice is sugar-free&mdashbut if you tend to chew on the cubes once you&rsquove finished a beverage, they can cause major damage. Dental experts say nibbling on ice is a major no-no as it can easily crack or break teeth.

Sadly, this summertime favorite is off-limits if you want your teeth to stay in one piece. Biting into corn that's on the cob can loosen or crack fillings and sealants, and damage orthodontic wires and brackets among patients with braces, Dr. Buzzatto says. And when it comes to dentures, chomping down on corn on the cob can easily dislodge the dentures. Instead of skipping corn altogether, though, simply scrape it off the cob before consuming.

More from Prevention: 5 Delicious Corn Recipes

Tooth enamel is particularly vulnerable to dark colors, including red pasta sauce&mdashporous enamel can easily absorb this coloring, leading to unsightly stains. Plus, the acidity from tomatoes makes teeth temporarily more porous. But instead of laying off the sauce, solve the problem by swishing with plenty of water while you&rsquore enjoying an Italian repast.

Sorry chardonnay fans. While the deep color of red wine can cause discoloration, white wine might actually trigger even more damage. "The acidity in wine makes teeth more susceptible to stains, and white wine is generally more acidic," says Irwin Smigel, DDS, president of the American Society for Dental Aesthetics. "This acid can leave teeth vulnerable to stains from darkly colored food."

Convinced bottled water is better than tap? Not where your teeth are concerned. &ldquoThe problem is during the purification process, water become more acidic," explains Brett Silverman, DDS, a Georgia-based dentist. "Acid and teeth equals cavities."

Your teeth might feel cleaner after you pop a mint, but the real story: &ldquoSucking on breath mints all day is like soaking your teeth in sugar,&rdquo warns Bill Dorfman, DDS, author of Billion Dollar Smile. Go sugar-free, and opt for mints sweetened with xylitol, which appears to combat bacteria associated with tooth decay.

That dentists avoid taffy and caramels like the plague isn&rsquot exactly surprising. &ldquoSticky candies get stuck between braces and teeth, allowing plaque to build up,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. Plus, a chewy candy in the wrong place at the wrong time can easily take a tooth out. But here&rsquos the good news: If you need a sugar hit, dark chocolate is soft on teeth and may combat plaque, according to recent research. (Get your tooth-friendly sugar fix with these 4 Guilt-Free Chocolate Desserts.)

Noshing a pb&j is reminiscent of childhood, but it&rsquos a surefire way to prematurely age your teeth. The high sugar content of all three ingredients means that as soon as you bite in, enamel-eroding bacteria go on a feeding frenzy. And because peanut butter and jelly are both sticky, they allow the bacteria to adhere to your teeth.

They taste light as air, but the texture of potato chips (crunchy at first, then gummy post-chewing) means they tend to linger in your mouth. When chip particles get stuck between teeth, acid-producing bacteria indulge in a snacking attack that ups your risk of tooth decay. And since we tend to nosh on chips over a long period (hey, no one can eat just one), that means a non-stop period of acid production.

So much for a refreshing glass of lemonade on the beach&mdashthe citric acid in lemons can wreak havoc on teeth. &ldquoLemonade is a destructive combination of acid and sugar that leads to tooth decay and cavities,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. &ldquoEven adding lemon slices to water can be a danger, because of the acidity it adds.&rdquo

Your favorite cinema snack is a double-pronged danger: Much like potato chips, popcorn can wedge between teeth and foster bacterial growth. Un-popped kernels are even worse. &ldquoWhen it gets to the bottom of the bag, people don&rsquot realize that biting on kernels can break your teeth,&rdquo Dr. Dorfman says.

Items like raisins, figs, and dried apricots are bursting with nutrition. Unfortunately, they&rsquore also packed with a dense dose of sugar and non-soluble cellulose fiber, which can bind and trap those sugars around the tooth to the same extent as saltwater taffy. Your best bet? Sticking with the fresh version as much as possible.

Here&rsquos another good reason to avoid refined carbohydrates, like white sandwich bread: The simple sugars quickly dissolve inside the mouth, causing a surge of acid that can erode tooth enamel. Plus, white bread takes on a gummy consistency when chewed, meaning small particles can get trapped between teeth.

A nutritious pick-me-up after your morning workout? Not quite. Sports drinks are packed with sugar and acids, Dr. Silverman says. And because we tend to swish sports drinks around in our mouths, the potential for cavities and erosion is even more significant.

They might soothe your symptoms, but many cough drops have as much sugar as hard candy, experts warn. And because you suck on them for several minutes, and tend to pop them all day long when you have a cold, dental damage can be hefty. Skip the drops in favor of soothing your throat with herbal tea and water, or opt for sugar-free drops if necessary. (A tastier way to soothe a cough? Dark chocolate. Seriously, check it out.)

From grapefruits to oranges, citrus boasts a bevy of nutrients. But they&rsquore also packed with acids that can strip your teeth, says Dr. Lepine. Drink water when you enjoy a citrus snack, and swap in essential oils&mdashwhich have less acidity&mdashinstead of the real thing when you flavor your water, he suggests.

Vinegar is in a variety of foods, including salad dressings, pickles, and other sauces. But this flavorful ingredient can also trigger tooth decay: In one recent study, teens who ate vinegar-heavy foods had a 30 to 85% increased risk of enamel erosion. Lettuce actually appears to combat the damaging effects of vinegar&mdashso keep enjoying your favorite balsamic vinaigrette on your salad without worry.

You know that a sugar-filled margarita isn&rsquot doing your waistline any favors, but what about your teeth? Much like fruit juice, sugar-heavy cocktails can lead to cavities. Plus, alcohol actually dries out the mouth&mdasheliminating any protective benefit from saliva. If you&rsquore going to indulge, opt for sugar-free mixers like soda water.

Any heavily pigmented food, like blueberries, beets, or soy sauce, can lead to tooth discoloration. But curry powder is a surprising culprit: It isn&rsquot particularly dark, but that deep pigment can stain teeth yellow over time, says Michael Paesani, DMD, a Virginia-based dentist. Enjoy your next chickpea curry with a glass of water to prevent the problem.

It&rsquos a better option than coffee, which is notorious for its potential to stain teeth. But the tannins in tea can cause stains&mdashand one recent study found that darker teas (Earl Gray, English Breakfast) are significantly more likely to do damage. Opt for green or herbal varieties instead.

Nature&rsquos candy is already sweet enough&mdashbut food manufacturers often stuff canned fruit with a ton of extra sugar. Citrus fruits packed in heavy syrup are the worst culprits, because they combine acids with a ton of cavity-causing sugar. Pick canned fruit in its own juices, or go with frozen varieties instead.

While everyone loves a piece of toast in the morning, biting into hardened toast can lead to broken teeth, Dr. Dorfman warns. Stick with lightly toasted bread, and avoid hard crusts to protect your smile.


25 Foods Dentists Won't Eat

Fact: Nobody looks forward to her biannual rendezvous at the dentist&rsquos. But the discomfort from the poking and scraping of routine cleanings is nothing compared to the pain (not to mention the expense) of more intensive procedures, like fillings and root canals. So wouldn't it be nice to seriously lower your chances of needing dental work with some strategic eating?

&ldquoThere are plenty of foods that people should be avoiding if they want to keep their teeth in good shape,&rdquo says Guillaume Lepine, DDS, a Massachusetts-based dentist. We polled some of the top oral hygiene experts in the country to find out what&rsquos not in their kitchen&mdashand how they prevent food-related tooth damage whenever naughty nibbles do manage to make it past their lips.

Your favorite sugary soda is a total smile saboteur. &ldquoMost contain an acid that can weaken tooth enamel&mdasheven diet soda,&rdquo explains John F. Buzzatto, DMD, MDS, president of the American Association of Orthodontists. If you must indulge, drink through a straw to limit soda&rsquos contact with your teeth. (Though you may want to skip the soda altogether&mdashand not just for your teeth. Check out 7 Side Effects Of Drinking Diet Soda.)

Already struggling with weak teeth? Skip crunchy fruits and veggies, which can further crack or damage fragile chompers. Apples and carrots are actually two of the biggest culprits of cracked teeth, Dr. Buzzatto notes. But don&rsquot skip these healthy treats altogether: &ldquoCut them into bite-size pieces before you enjoy them,&rdquo he recommends.

Savoring a sweet sucker might seem innocent enough, but not so fast. &ldquoSucking these candies exposes your mouth to harsh sugars for longer periods of time,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. &ldquoAnd chewing on them can break or crack teeth, fillings, and sealants.&rdquo

Sure, ice is sugar-free&mdashbut if you tend to chew on the cubes once you&rsquove finished a beverage, they can cause major damage. Dental experts say nibbling on ice is a major no-no as it can easily crack or break teeth.

Sadly, this summertime favorite is off-limits if you want your teeth to stay in one piece. Biting into corn that's on the cob can loosen or crack fillings and sealants, and damage orthodontic wires and brackets among patients with braces, Dr. Buzzatto says. And when it comes to dentures, chomping down on corn on the cob can easily dislodge the dentures. Instead of skipping corn altogether, though, simply scrape it off the cob before consuming.

More from Prevention: 5 Delicious Corn Recipes

Tooth enamel is particularly vulnerable to dark colors, including red pasta sauce&mdashporous enamel can easily absorb this coloring, leading to unsightly stains. Plus, the acidity from tomatoes makes teeth temporarily more porous. But instead of laying off the sauce, solve the problem by swishing with plenty of water while you&rsquore enjoying an Italian repast.

Sorry chardonnay fans. While the deep color of red wine can cause discoloration, white wine might actually trigger even more damage. "The acidity in wine makes teeth more susceptible to stains, and white wine is generally more acidic," says Irwin Smigel, DDS, president of the American Society for Dental Aesthetics. "This acid can leave teeth vulnerable to stains from darkly colored food."

Convinced bottled water is better than tap? Not where your teeth are concerned. &ldquoThe problem is during the purification process, water become more acidic," explains Brett Silverman, DDS, a Georgia-based dentist. "Acid and teeth equals cavities."

Your teeth might feel cleaner after you pop a mint, but the real story: &ldquoSucking on breath mints all day is like soaking your teeth in sugar,&rdquo warns Bill Dorfman, DDS, author of Billion Dollar Smile. Go sugar-free, and opt for mints sweetened with xylitol, which appears to combat bacteria associated with tooth decay.

That dentists avoid taffy and caramels like the plague isn&rsquot exactly surprising. &ldquoSticky candies get stuck between braces and teeth, allowing plaque to build up,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. Plus, a chewy candy in the wrong place at the wrong time can easily take a tooth out. But here&rsquos the good news: If you need a sugar hit, dark chocolate is soft on teeth and may combat plaque, according to recent research. (Get your tooth-friendly sugar fix with these 4 Guilt-Free Chocolate Desserts.)

Noshing a pb&j is reminiscent of childhood, but it&rsquos a surefire way to prematurely age your teeth. The high sugar content of all three ingredients means that as soon as you bite in, enamel-eroding bacteria go on a feeding frenzy. And because peanut butter and jelly are both sticky, they allow the bacteria to adhere to your teeth.

They taste light as air, but the texture of potato chips (crunchy at first, then gummy post-chewing) means they tend to linger in your mouth. When chip particles get stuck between teeth, acid-producing bacteria indulge in a snacking attack that ups your risk of tooth decay. And since we tend to nosh on chips over a long period (hey, no one can eat just one), that means a non-stop period of acid production.

So much for a refreshing glass of lemonade on the beach&mdashthe citric acid in lemons can wreak havoc on teeth. &ldquoLemonade is a destructive combination of acid and sugar that leads to tooth decay and cavities,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. &ldquoEven adding lemon slices to water can be a danger, because of the acidity it adds.&rdquo

Your favorite cinema snack is a double-pronged danger: Much like potato chips, popcorn can wedge between teeth and foster bacterial growth. Un-popped kernels are even worse. &ldquoWhen it gets to the bottom of the bag, people don&rsquot realize that biting on kernels can break your teeth,&rdquo Dr. Dorfman says.

Items like raisins, figs, and dried apricots are bursting with nutrition. Unfortunately, they&rsquore also packed with a dense dose of sugar and non-soluble cellulose fiber, which can bind and trap those sugars around the tooth to the same extent as saltwater taffy. Your best bet? Sticking with the fresh version as much as possible.

Here&rsquos another good reason to avoid refined carbohydrates, like white sandwich bread: The simple sugars quickly dissolve inside the mouth, causing a surge of acid that can erode tooth enamel. Plus, white bread takes on a gummy consistency when chewed, meaning small particles can get trapped between teeth.

A nutritious pick-me-up after your morning workout? Not quite. Sports drinks are packed with sugar and acids, Dr. Silverman says. And because we tend to swish sports drinks around in our mouths, the potential for cavities and erosion is even more significant.

They might soothe your symptoms, but many cough drops have as much sugar as hard candy, experts warn. And because you suck on them for several minutes, and tend to pop them all day long when you have a cold, dental damage can be hefty. Skip the drops in favor of soothing your throat with herbal tea and water, or opt for sugar-free drops if necessary. (A tastier way to soothe a cough? Dark chocolate. Seriously, check it out.)

From grapefruits to oranges, citrus boasts a bevy of nutrients. But they&rsquore also packed with acids that can strip your teeth, says Dr. Lepine. Drink water when you enjoy a citrus snack, and swap in essential oils&mdashwhich have less acidity&mdashinstead of the real thing when you flavor your water, he suggests.

Vinegar is in a variety of foods, including salad dressings, pickles, and other sauces. But this flavorful ingredient can also trigger tooth decay: In one recent study, teens who ate vinegar-heavy foods had a 30 to 85% increased risk of enamel erosion. Lettuce actually appears to combat the damaging effects of vinegar&mdashso keep enjoying your favorite balsamic vinaigrette on your salad without worry.

You know that a sugar-filled margarita isn&rsquot doing your waistline any favors, but what about your teeth? Much like fruit juice, sugar-heavy cocktails can lead to cavities. Plus, alcohol actually dries out the mouth&mdasheliminating any protective benefit from saliva. If you&rsquore going to indulge, opt for sugar-free mixers like soda water.

Any heavily pigmented food, like blueberries, beets, or soy sauce, can lead to tooth discoloration. But curry powder is a surprising culprit: It isn&rsquot particularly dark, but that deep pigment can stain teeth yellow over time, says Michael Paesani, DMD, a Virginia-based dentist. Enjoy your next chickpea curry with a glass of water to prevent the problem.

It&rsquos a better option than coffee, which is notorious for its potential to stain teeth. But the tannins in tea can cause stains&mdashand one recent study found that darker teas (Earl Gray, English Breakfast) are significantly more likely to do damage. Opt for green or herbal varieties instead.

Nature&rsquos candy is already sweet enough&mdashbut food manufacturers often stuff canned fruit with a ton of extra sugar. Citrus fruits packed in heavy syrup are the worst culprits, because they combine acids with a ton of cavity-causing sugar. Pick canned fruit in its own juices, or go with frozen varieties instead.

While everyone loves a piece of toast in the morning, biting into hardened toast can lead to broken teeth, Dr. Dorfman warns. Stick with lightly toasted bread, and avoid hard crusts to protect your smile.


25 Foods Dentists Won't Eat

Fact: Nobody looks forward to her biannual rendezvous at the dentist&rsquos. But the discomfort from the poking and scraping of routine cleanings is nothing compared to the pain (not to mention the expense) of more intensive procedures, like fillings and root canals. So wouldn't it be nice to seriously lower your chances of needing dental work with some strategic eating?

&ldquoThere are plenty of foods that people should be avoiding if they want to keep their teeth in good shape,&rdquo says Guillaume Lepine, DDS, a Massachusetts-based dentist. We polled some of the top oral hygiene experts in the country to find out what&rsquos not in their kitchen&mdashand how they prevent food-related tooth damage whenever naughty nibbles do manage to make it past their lips.

Your favorite sugary soda is a total smile saboteur. &ldquoMost contain an acid that can weaken tooth enamel&mdasheven diet soda,&rdquo explains John F. Buzzatto, DMD, MDS, president of the American Association of Orthodontists. If you must indulge, drink through a straw to limit soda&rsquos contact with your teeth. (Though you may want to skip the soda altogether&mdashand not just for your teeth. Check out 7 Side Effects Of Drinking Diet Soda.)

Already struggling with weak teeth? Skip crunchy fruits and veggies, which can further crack or damage fragile chompers. Apples and carrots are actually two of the biggest culprits of cracked teeth, Dr. Buzzatto notes. But don&rsquot skip these healthy treats altogether: &ldquoCut them into bite-size pieces before you enjoy them,&rdquo he recommends.

Savoring a sweet sucker might seem innocent enough, but not so fast. &ldquoSucking these candies exposes your mouth to harsh sugars for longer periods of time,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. &ldquoAnd chewing on them can break or crack teeth, fillings, and sealants.&rdquo

Sure, ice is sugar-free&mdashbut if you tend to chew on the cubes once you&rsquove finished a beverage, they can cause major damage. Dental experts say nibbling on ice is a major no-no as it can easily crack or break teeth.

Sadly, this summertime favorite is off-limits if you want your teeth to stay in one piece. Biting into corn that's on the cob can loosen or crack fillings and sealants, and damage orthodontic wires and brackets among patients with braces, Dr. Buzzatto says. And when it comes to dentures, chomping down on corn on the cob can easily dislodge the dentures. Instead of skipping corn altogether, though, simply scrape it off the cob before consuming.

More from Prevention: 5 Delicious Corn Recipes

Tooth enamel is particularly vulnerable to dark colors, including red pasta sauce&mdashporous enamel can easily absorb this coloring, leading to unsightly stains. Plus, the acidity from tomatoes makes teeth temporarily more porous. But instead of laying off the sauce, solve the problem by swishing with plenty of water while you&rsquore enjoying an Italian repast.

Sorry chardonnay fans. While the deep color of red wine can cause discoloration, white wine might actually trigger even more damage. "The acidity in wine makes teeth more susceptible to stains, and white wine is generally more acidic," says Irwin Smigel, DDS, president of the American Society for Dental Aesthetics. "This acid can leave teeth vulnerable to stains from darkly colored food."

Convinced bottled water is better than tap? Not where your teeth are concerned. &ldquoThe problem is during the purification process, water become more acidic," explains Brett Silverman, DDS, a Georgia-based dentist. "Acid and teeth equals cavities."

Your teeth might feel cleaner after you pop a mint, but the real story: &ldquoSucking on breath mints all day is like soaking your teeth in sugar,&rdquo warns Bill Dorfman, DDS, author of Billion Dollar Smile. Go sugar-free, and opt for mints sweetened with xylitol, which appears to combat bacteria associated with tooth decay.

That dentists avoid taffy and caramels like the plague isn&rsquot exactly surprising. &ldquoSticky candies get stuck between braces and teeth, allowing plaque to build up,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. Plus, a chewy candy in the wrong place at the wrong time can easily take a tooth out. But here&rsquos the good news: If you need a sugar hit, dark chocolate is soft on teeth and may combat plaque, according to recent research. (Get your tooth-friendly sugar fix with these 4 Guilt-Free Chocolate Desserts.)

Noshing a pb&j is reminiscent of childhood, but it&rsquos a surefire way to prematurely age your teeth. The high sugar content of all three ingredients means that as soon as you bite in, enamel-eroding bacteria go on a feeding frenzy. And because peanut butter and jelly are both sticky, they allow the bacteria to adhere to your teeth.

They taste light as air, but the texture of potato chips (crunchy at first, then gummy post-chewing) means they tend to linger in your mouth. When chip particles get stuck between teeth, acid-producing bacteria indulge in a snacking attack that ups your risk of tooth decay. And since we tend to nosh on chips over a long period (hey, no one can eat just one), that means a non-stop period of acid production.

So much for a refreshing glass of lemonade on the beach&mdashthe citric acid in lemons can wreak havoc on teeth. &ldquoLemonade is a destructive combination of acid and sugar that leads to tooth decay and cavities,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. &ldquoEven adding lemon slices to water can be a danger, because of the acidity it adds.&rdquo

Your favorite cinema snack is a double-pronged danger: Much like potato chips, popcorn can wedge between teeth and foster bacterial growth. Un-popped kernels are even worse. &ldquoWhen it gets to the bottom of the bag, people don&rsquot realize that biting on kernels can break your teeth,&rdquo Dr. Dorfman says.

Items like raisins, figs, and dried apricots are bursting with nutrition. Unfortunately, they&rsquore also packed with a dense dose of sugar and non-soluble cellulose fiber, which can bind and trap those sugars around the tooth to the same extent as saltwater taffy. Your best bet? Sticking with the fresh version as much as possible.

Here&rsquos another good reason to avoid refined carbohydrates, like white sandwich bread: The simple sugars quickly dissolve inside the mouth, causing a surge of acid that can erode tooth enamel. Plus, white bread takes on a gummy consistency when chewed, meaning small particles can get trapped between teeth.

A nutritious pick-me-up after your morning workout? Not quite. Sports drinks are packed with sugar and acids, Dr. Silverman says. And because we tend to swish sports drinks around in our mouths, the potential for cavities and erosion is even more significant.

They might soothe your symptoms, but many cough drops have as much sugar as hard candy, experts warn. And because you suck on them for several minutes, and tend to pop them all day long when you have a cold, dental damage can be hefty. Skip the drops in favor of soothing your throat with herbal tea and water, or opt for sugar-free drops if necessary. (A tastier way to soothe a cough? Dark chocolate. Seriously, check it out.)

From grapefruits to oranges, citrus boasts a bevy of nutrients. But they&rsquore also packed with acids that can strip your teeth, says Dr. Lepine. Drink water when you enjoy a citrus snack, and swap in essential oils&mdashwhich have less acidity&mdashinstead of the real thing when you flavor your water, he suggests.

Vinegar is in a variety of foods, including salad dressings, pickles, and other sauces. But this flavorful ingredient can also trigger tooth decay: In one recent study, teens who ate vinegar-heavy foods had a 30 to 85% increased risk of enamel erosion. Lettuce actually appears to combat the damaging effects of vinegar&mdashso keep enjoying your favorite balsamic vinaigrette on your salad without worry.

You know that a sugar-filled margarita isn&rsquot doing your waistline any favors, but what about your teeth? Much like fruit juice, sugar-heavy cocktails can lead to cavities. Plus, alcohol actually dries out the mouth&mdasheliminating any protective benefit from saliva. If you&rsquore going to indulge, opt for sugar-free mixers like soda water.

Any heavily pigmented food, like blueberries, beets, or soy sauce, can lead to tooth discoloration. But curry powder is a surprising culprit: It isn&rsquot particularly dark, but that deep pigment can stain teeth yellow over time, says Michael Paesani, DMD, a Virginia-based dentist. Enjoy your next chickpea curry with a glass of water to prevent the problem.

It&rsquos a better option than coffee, which is notorious for its potential to stain teeth. But the tannins in tea can cause stains&mdashand one recent study found that darker teas (Earl Gray, English Breakfast) are significantly more likely to do damage. Opt for green or herbal varieties instead.

Nature&rsquos candy is already sweet enough&mdashbut food manufacturers often stuff canned fruit with a ton of extra sugar. Citrus fruits packed in heavy syrup are the worst culprits, because they combine acids with a ton of cavity-causing sugar. Pick canned fruit in its own juices, or go with frozen varieties instead.

While everyone loves a piece of toast in the morning, biting into hardened toast can lead to broken teeth, Dr. Dorfman warns. Stick with lightly toasted bread, and avoid hard crusts to protect your smile.


25 Foods Dentists Won't Eat

Fact: Nobody looks forward to her biannual rendezvous at the dentist&rsquos. But the discomfort from the poking and scraping of routine cleanings is nothing compared to the pain (not to mention the expense) of more intensive procedures, like fillings and root canals. So wouldn't it be nice to seriously lower your chances of needing dental work with some strategic eating?

&ldquoThere are plenty of foods that people should be avoiding if they want to keep their teeth in good shape,&rdquo says Guillaume Lepine, DDS, a Massachusetts-based dentist. We polled some of the top oral hygiene experts in the country to find out what&rsquos not in their kitchen&mdashand how they prevent food-related tooth damage whenever naughty nibbles do manage to make it past their lips.

Your favorite sugary soda is a total smile saboteur. &ldquoMost contain an acid that can weaken tooth enamel&mdasheven diet soda,&rdquo explains John F. Buzzatto, DMD, MDS, president of the American Association of Orthodontists. If you must indulge, drink through a straw to limit soda&rsquos contact with your teeth. (Though you may want to skip the soda altogether&mdashand not just for your teeth. Check out 7 Side Effects Of Drinking Diet Soda.)

Already struggling with weak teeth? Skip crunchy fruits and veggies, which can further crack or damage fragile chompers. Apples and carrots are actually two of the biggest culprits of cracked teeth, Dr. Buzzatto notes. But don&rsquot skip these healthy treats altogether: &ldquoCut them into bite-size pieces before you enjoy them,&rdquo he recommends.

Savoring a sweet sucker might seem innocent enough, but not so fast. &ldquoSucking these candies exposes your mouth to harsh sugars for longer periods of time,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. &ldquoAnd chewing on them can break or crack teeth, fillings, and sealants.&rdquo

Sure, ice is sugar-free&mdashbut if you tend to chew on the cubes once you&rsquove finished a beverage, they can cause major damage. Dental experts say nibbling on ice is a major no-no as it can easily crack or break teeth.

Sadly, this summertime favorite is off-limits if you want your teeth to stay in one piece. Biting into corn that's on the cob can loosen or crack fillings and sealants, and damage orthodontic wires and brackets among patients with braces, Dr. Buzzatto says. And when it comes to dentures, chomping down on corn on the cob can easily dislodge the dentures. Instead of skipping corn altogether, though, simply scrape it off the cob before consuming.

More from Prevention: 5 Delicious Corn Recipes

Tooth enamel is particularly vulnerable to dark colors, including red pasta sauce&mdashporous enamel can easily absorb this coloring, leading to unsightly stains. Plus, the acidity from tomatoes makes teeth temporarily more porous. But instead of laying off the sauce, solve the problem by swishing with plenty of water while you&rsquore enjoying an Italian repast.

Sorry chardonnay fans. While the deep color of red wine can cause discoloration, white wine might actually trigger even more damage. "The acidity in wine makes teeth more susceptible to stains, and white wine is generally more acidic," says Irwin Smigel, DDS, president of the American Society for Dental Aesthetics. "This acid can leave teeth vulnerable to stains from darkly colored food."

Convinced bottled water is better than tap? Not where your teeth are concerned. &ldquoThe problem is during the purification process, water become more acidic," explains Brett Silverman, DDS, a Georgia-based dentist. "Acid and teeth equals cavities."

Your teeth might feel cleaner after you pop a mint, but the real story: &ldquoSucking on breath mints all day is like soaking your teeth in sugar,&rdquo warns Bill Dorfman, DDS, author of Billion Dollar Smile. Go sugar-free, and opt for mints sweetened with xylitol, which appears to combat bacteria associated with tooth decay.

That dentists avoid taffy and caramels like the plague isn&rsquot exactly surprising. &ldquoSticky candies get stuck between braces and teeth, allowing plaque to build up,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. Plus, a chewy candy in the wrong place at the wrong time can easily take a tooth out. But here&rsquos the good news: If you need a sugar hit, dark chocolate is soft on teeth and may combat plaque, according to recent research. (Get your tooth-friendly sugar fix with these 4 Guilt-Free Chocolate Desserts.)

Noshing a pb&j is reminiscent of childhood, but it&rsquos a surefire way to prematurely age your teeth. The high sugar content of all three ingredients means that as soon as you bite in, enamel-eroding bacteria go on a feeding frenzy. And because peanut butter and jelly are both sticky, they allow the bacteria to adhere to your teeth.

They taste light as air, but the texture of potato chips (crunchy at first, then gummy post-chewing) means they tend to linger in your mouth. When chip particles get stuck between teeth, acid-producing bacteria indulge in a snacking attack that ups your risk of tooth decay. And since we tend to nosh on chips over a long period (hey, no one can eat just one), that means a non-stop period of acid production.

So much for a refreshing glass of lemonade on the beach&mdashthe citric acid in lemons can wreak havoc on teeth. &ldquoLemonade is a destructive combination of acid and sugar that leads to tooth decay and cavities,&rdquo Dr. Lepine says. &ldquoEven adding lemon slices to water can be a danger, because of the acidity it adds.&rdquo

Your favorite cinema snack is a double-pronged danger: Much like potato chips, popcorn can wedge between teeth and foster bacterial growth. Un-popped kernels are even worse. &ldquoWhen it gets to the bottom of the bag, people don&rsquot realize that biting on kernels can break your teeth,&rdquo Dr. Dorfman says.

Items like raisins, figs, and dried apricots are bursting with nutrition. Unfortunately, they&rsquore also packed with a dense dose of sugar and non-soluble cellulose fiber, which can bind and trap those sugars around the tooth to the same extent as saltwater taffy. Your best bet? Sticking with the fresh version as much as possible.

Here&rsquos another good reason to avoid refined carbohydrates, like white sandwich bread: The simple sugars quickly dissolve inside the mouth, causing a surge of acid that can erode tooth enamel. Plus, white bread takes on a gummy consistency when chewed, meaning small particles can get trapped between teeth.

A nutritious pick-me-up after your morning workout? Not quite. Sports drinks are packed with sugar and acids, Dr. Silverman says. And because we tend to swish sports drinks around in our mouths, the potential for cavities and erosion is even more significant.

They might soothe your symptoms, but many cough drops have as much sugar as hard candy, experts warn. And because you suck on them for several minutes, and tend to pop them all day long when you have a cold, dental damage can be hefty. Skip the drops in favor of soothing your throat with herbal tea and water, or opt for sugar-free drops if necessary. (A tastier way to soothe a cough? Dark chocolate. Seriously, check it out.)

From grapefruits to oranges, citrus boasts a bevy of nutrients. But they&rsquore also packed with acids that can strip your teeth, says Dr. Lepine. Drink water when you enjoy a citrus snack, and swap in essential oils&mdashwhich have less acidity&mdashinstead of the real thing when you flavor your water, he suggests.

Vinegar is in a variety of foods, including salad dressings, pickles, and other sauces. But this flavorful ingredient can also trigger tooth decay: In one recent study, teens who ate vinegar-heavy foods had a 30 to 85% increased risk of enamel erosion. Lettuce actually appears to combat the damaging effects of vinegar&mdashso keep enjoying your favorite balsamic vinaigrette on your salad without worry.

You know that a sugar-filled margarita isn&rsquot doing your waistline any favors, but what about your teeth? Much like fruit juice, sugar-heavy cocktails can lead to cavities. Plus, alcohol actually dries out the mouth&mdasheliminating any protective benefit from saliva. If you&rsquore going to indulge, opt for sugar-free mixers like soda water.

Any heavily pigmented food, like blueberries, beets, or soy sauce, can lead to tooth discoloration. But curry powder is a surprising culprit: It isn&rsquot particularly dark, but that deep pigment can stain teeth yellow over time, says Michael Paesani, DMD, a Virginia-based dentist. Enjoy your next chickpea curry with a glass of water to prevent the problem.

It&rsquos a better option than coffee, which is notorious for its potential to stain teeth. But the tannins in tea can cause stains&mdashand one recent study found that darker teas (Earl Gray, English Breakfast) are significantly more likely to do damage. Opt for green or herbal varieties instead.

Nature&rsquos candy is already sweet enough&mdashbut food manufacturers often stuff canned fruit with a ton of extra sugar. Citrus fruits packed in heavy syrup are the worst culprits, because they combine acids with a ton of cavity-causing sugar. Pick canned fruit in its own juices, or go with frozen varieties instead.

While everyone loves a piece of toast in the morning, biting into hardened toast can lead to broken teeth, Dr. Dorfman warns. Stick with lightly toasted bread, and avoid hard crusts to protect your smile.



Comments:

  1. Connlaio

    There is something in this.Now everything is clear, thanks for the help in this matter.

  2. Huntingtun

    Authoritative answer, funny ...

  3. Hareleah

    Thanks for the info! Interesting!

  4. Chansomps

    But that ultimately.

  5. Akinorr

    Good article :) Just haven't found a link to the RSS blog?

  6. Aisley

    Well, what next?



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