The importance of brushing after eating can’t be stressed enough with certain foods. According to the American Dental Association, the following seven foods are the worst villains for teeth: dried fruit, sugary drinks, hard candies, alcohol, citrus/acidic foods, starchy foods, and coffee.
Dried fruit- Although dried fruits are better than processed fruit snacks, they are still sticky and high in sugar. That means they adhere to teeth easily and the sugar feeds bacteria in the mouth, promoting tooth decay.
Sugary drinks- Sodas and sports drinks are especially bad when sipped for long periods of time because teeth get bathed with a constant layer of acid. It may be better to drink sugary beverages all at once if you insist on drinking them.
Hard candies- Like sipping sodas all day, hard candies stay in the mouth for a long period of time and the sugars stick to teeth.
Alcohol- You may not know it but alcohol causes saliva production to decrease. Saliva is beneficial because it washes away food particles and acts as a buffer against acid.
Citrus/acidic foods- Tooth decay is promoted by foods high in acid such as citrus or tomatoes, especially when eaten alone. These foods are fine as long as you flush your mouth with water afterward to buffer the acid.
Starchy foods- Foods such as potato chips and white bread easily get trapped in teeth and feed the bacteria that make up tooth plaque.
Coffee- Drinking coffee and tea stains the teeth and makes teeth stickier so that food particles adhere more readily.
It’s important to understand that some of the foods listed aren’t necessarily bad for health, but experts strongly encourage tooth brushing and flossing after consumption to help prevent decay.