Foods Ruining Your Teeth Main

What you eat could be hurting your smile and your oral health. We have the scoop on the food that might be ruining your teeth.

We asked New York Times best-selling celebrity fitness and nutrition expert JJ Virgin to share her tips on what foods could be harming your teeth. In addition to foods and drinks that can stain your teeth such as red wine, coffee and tea, and soy sauce there are also other items to be mindful of.

Diet soda
If you think sipping on diet soda is somehow better for you and your teeth, think again. “Far from the free pass some people want to make it, detrimental effects include phosphoric acid wearing down tooth enamel,” explains Virgin. Soda water with a slice of lime or other citrus fruit is a much healthier and tooth-friendly choice.

Breath mints
Virgin describes eating breath mints as “giving your teeth a bath in cavity-causing sugar.” She recommends staying away from them after your meals despite the temptation to keep them in your purse. A mini or travel toothbrush is a much better option for keeping teeth clean and your breath fresh after you eat.

The snack of choice among movie-goers and Real Housewives bingers alike, popcorn can be tough on teeth. As Virgin notes, “you're going to bite down on a kernel at some point.” She adds that one of the primary reasons people visit dentists for cracked teeth is biting down on a popcorn kernel. “That's a sure-fire way to make movie night go badly pretty quickly.” When you do eat popcorn, be mindful of kernels and brush your teeth once you’re finished eating.

Raisins and other dried fruit
Dried fruits in moderation can be a healthy energy boost when added to homemade trail mix, but they aren’t the most tooth-friendly snacks. “Not only are you getting a steady sugar dose, these fruits' stickiness binds to your teeth, further wreaking sugar havoc,” explains Virgin. Either skip the dried fruit, or floss and brush after indulging.

Hard candy
Biting into peppermints or other hard candy delivers a triple whammy to your teeth, says Virgin. This includes sugar overload, stickiness that lingers on your teeth, and a hardness that can chip or crack teeth. Skip hard candies altogether and instead snack on crunchy fruit and vegetables like apples, celery and carrots.

Peanut butter
Whether you’re eating peanut butter by the spoonful (we’re not judging) or on toast, it’s another potential problem for your teeth. “Peanut butter’s sticky sugary texture loves to hang out between your teeth even after you've brushed,” notes Virgin. Brush twice, or be extra diligent when brushing after eating peanut butter.

Jessica-PadykulaJessica Padykula is a Toronto-based writer and editor who regularly covers style, beauty, health, travel and lifestyle trends. When she’s not writing or researching a story she can be found planning trips to places near and far in a never-ending quest to travel the world. You can follow her on Twitter @JessPadykula.