Best and Worst Foods For Your Teeth

Dr. Reza Written by Dr. Reza Khazaie

3 common healthy foods to eat, 3 foods that damage teeth, and easy ways to protect your teeth and efficiently promote the health of your teeth.

Bad Food for Teeth

Your teeth are powerful and resilient triumphs of genetic engineering and design. Embedded in the exceptionally capable jaws of a human adult, the average person can exert a bite pressure of 150 to 200 pounds per square inch. Our molars, which are designed for grinding and mashing strong roots and nuts, can apply as much as 171 pounds of force on average and as much as 270 pounds of force in some cases. While that won’t compare to the deadly bite of a crocodile, it is powerful enough to crush a variety of tastier foes such as tough cuts of meat, dense fruits, and hard nuts.

However, as amazingly and wonderfully resilient as your teeth may be, they aren’t invulnerable to the gradual wear and tear and daily forces we subject them to every day. What we directly expose our teeth to will affect the health and structural integrity of our teeth and mouth. To protect your teeth and maintain healthy teeth, watch what you eat.

Best and Worst Foods for Your Teeth

According to Scientific American, while human teeth are strong, they aren’t strong enough to overcome a particularly stale piece of bread or a typical stick of licorice, which may require forces over 250 pounds to be completely crushed.

While strong enough to withstand a lifetime of biting, chewing, and grinding with the right care and attention, your teeth are susceptible to being cracked, chipped, broken, eroded, or otherwise damaged and degraded based on what you put in your mouth.

If that describes you, there is hope for those with damaged teeth. There are several solutions for damaged teeth, such as dental crowns, dental veneers, dental implants, dentures, or full-mouth reconstruction.

5 Bad Foods for Teeth & Better Alternatives

1. Bread
Choosing The Best Toothpaste - Willow Pass Dental Care - Concord, CA

While a staple of human consumption for millennia, bread is bad food for teeth on a number of levels. Its simple chemical structure means that carbohydrates become easily converted into sugars which fuel acid-producing bacteria in the mouth. Worse, hard breads and bread crusts can damage or break a tooth. While your teeth exert a lot of force, a piece of stale crust can easily withstand up to 350 pounds of force, thus the number one spot as a bad food for teeth.

Some of the healthiest bread

Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Bread

Sprouted bread is made from whole grains that have started to sprout from exposure to heat and moisture. It is believed that there is an increase in the number of nutrients due to sprouting. One study from the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health found pita bread made with 50 percent sprouted wheat flour had over three times as much folate, a vitamin critical for converting food into energy, then pita made without sprouted wheat flour. Also, most sprouted breads are high in fiber and protein. As such, they are more filling than refined breads.

Healthy Bread: Ezekiel 4:9 - Willow Pass Dental Care - Concord, CA
Arnold Whole Grain Wheat Bread

Visit Arnold’s site and get the entire scoop on their bread. The Arnold family of breads have “no added nonsense” which means:

  • No high fructose corn syrup
  • No partially Hydrogenated Oils (PHOs)
  • No artificial preservatives
  • No FD&C artificial colors
  • No potassium bromate
  • No SSL/CSL
  • No azodicarbonamide (ADA)
  • No bleached flour
Healthy Bread: Ezekiel 4:9 - Willow Pass Dental Care - Concord, CA
Dave’s Killer Bread: 21 Whole Grains and Seeds

It is not good for those on the Keto or gluten-free diet but is regarded by many as America’s favorite organic sliced bread.

Also, check out their website. This is a company with a soul.

Healthy Bread: Ezekiel 4:9 - Willow Pass Dental Care - Concord, CA
Happy Campers Gluten-Free Classy Slice Bread

A company started in 2010 by a couple of college kids with a passion for all things healthy. Their pursuit of wellness and happiness led them to begin experimenting with nutritious foods with the goal of nourishing and energizing our active lifestyles. Their favorite was bread! And thus, Happy Campers. 


  • Gluten-free bakery
  • Organic
  • 100% non-GMO ingredients
  • No junk
  • Healthy: allergy-friendly, highly nutritious, and super delicious!
  • They ship to you 
Healthy Bread: Ezekiel 4:9 - Willow Pass Dental Care - Concord, CA
2. Soft drinks and sodas
Best Foods and Drinks for Teeth - Willow Pass Dental Care, Concord, CA

Though soft drinks are not food, we decided to add them to our list of “Bad Food for Teeth” because they are often consumed with our food.

For three critical reasons, soft drinks are one of the worst beverages for your teeth. First, soft drinks are highly acidic. What that means is that they will directly erode the protective enamel of your teeth and strip away protective minerals.

Second, soft drinks are typically loaded with simple sugars that acid-producing microbes love. This contributes to bacterial build-up, plaque, tartar, and further destruction.

Finally, soft drinks cause dry mouth or a lack of saliva production. Saliva is one of the mouth’s primary defenses against microbial buildup and is essential for the remineralization of teeth. From the perspective of your enamel, soft drinks win the Triple Crown for their destructive potential. If you must consume a soft drink, at least use a straw.

Some healthy alternatives to sugary soft drinks

Calypso ZERO SUGAR Lemonades & Teas

They call it Vacation In A Bottle. I would agree. Tastes great! They have both lemonade and tea flavors. You will want to make sure you read the ingredients as they contain sucralose and EDTA to protect the color. That said, this is much better for the teeth and the diet than traditional soft drinks!

These drinks contain ZERO calories and sugar. They are flavored with natural lemon/lime juices for some antioxidant Vitamin C as opposed to artificial dye. They are sweetened using the natural non-nutritive sweeteners erythritol and stevia – these have negligible impacts on blood sugar unlike high fructose corn syrup. There is no phosphoric acid or additives which makes it gentler on the teeth and digestive system.

While not nutritionally equivalent to plain water Calypso is a better alternative to traditional sodas.

Healthy Bread: Ezekiel 4:9 - Willow Pass Dental Care - Concord, CA
IZZE Sparkling

It has a very refreshing taste. IZZE’s line of sparkling juice drinks are a much better alternative to traditional full-sugar soft drinks but aren’t as healthy as options like plain water or seltzer.

Pros of IZZE versus regular soft drinks:

  • Low in sugar and calories – IZZE contains 50-70 calories and 14-17g of sugar per can, compared to 90-150 calories and over 25g of sugar in Coke or Pepsi.
  • Higher juice content. There is up to 70% juice that provides more nutrients than soda including Vitamin C.
  • Doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners or colorings.

There are still cons to note, such as IZZE is still relatively high in natural sugar content per can for only 70 calories. The American Heart Association recommends limiting drinks to 25g or less of sugar.

Also, the carbonated aspect impacts tooth enamel similar to traditional sodas.

So while IZZE is better than a typical soft drink, plain or infused sparkling waters with no sugar or low-calorie juices make the healthiest swap. Again, water remains the best drink for hydration, dental care, and your health.

Healthy Bread: Ezekiel 4:9 - Willow Pass Dental Care - Concord, CA
S. Pellegrino Sparkling Mineral Water

S. Pellegrino Sparkling Mineral Water is an excellent alternative to sugary soft drinks.

Benefits over typical soda include:

  • Zero calories, sugar, artificial additives or sweeteners – avoids obesity/metabolic health risks soda introduces through empty calories.
  • Naturally carbonated from spring water sources, it creates a bubbly sensation without acids or phosphates used to carbonate manufactured sodas.
  • Provides hydration as effectively as regular purified water while stimulating taste buds.
  • Rich in naturally occurring minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium – it supplements daily nutrient intake.
  • Unlike constant sipping of juice or regular soda, there is no erosion of tooth enamel from sugar exposure over time.

While not as electrolyte-dense as sports drinks, S. Pellegrino mineral water matches plain water for meeting basic hydration needs across meals and activities without any consumption drawbacks soda entails. The subtle saltiness coming from natural springs makes it a refreshing, satisfying stand-in. For those weaning off usual soft drinks, it offers the ideal transitional step towards unflavored still water as the ultimate healthy beverage.

Healthy Bread: Ezekiel 4:9 - Willow Pass Dental Care - Concord, CA
3. Potato chips or french fries
Best Foods and Drinks for Teeth - Willow Pass Dental Care, Concord, CA

A trip down the chip aisle at your local grocery store is more than likely an assortment of junk food.

These foods are super high in fat, calories, and large amounts of acrylamides, which are carcinogenic substances that form when potatoes are fried, baked, or roasted.

Potato chip consumption is also linked to causing significant weight gain and obesity. A 2015 study in Health Affairs found that potatoes fried in oil (including chips) were among the foods most strongly linked to weight gain.

Also, the sodium content in chips may negatively impact your cardiovascular health. A high intake can cause an increase in blood pressure, which can lead to stroke, coronary heart disease, kidney disease, and heart failure.

Frequent chip consumption can also contribute to high cholesterol levels because of the fat content found in chips. Most chips are deep-fried, a process that creates trans fats, which is the most dangerous to your health. High levels of trans fats in the bloodstream are associated with high levels of LDL cholesterol and an increased risk of coronary heart disease.


Some healthy alternatives to traditional chips and fries:

Some healthier alternatives to traditional fried potato chips and french fries include:

Boulder Canyon Chips - Willow Pass Dental Care - Concord, CA
bare Sweep Potato Chips
Beanitos Black Bean Tortilla Chips - Willow Pass Dental Care - Concord, CA

Baked Vegetable Chips – Chips made from thinly sliced vegetables like sweet potatoes, beets, carrots or jicama and baked until crispy make for great fiber-rich, salt-free alternatives. Some brands to consider are Boulder Canyon Totally Natural Kettle Cooked Potato Chips, Bare Baked Crunchy Chips, and Beanitos Black Bean Chips.

Baked Tofu or Soy Crisps – These protein-packed snacks are crunchy with flavors from spices rather than oils, providing a hearty, baked potato chip-type of satisfaction.

Edamame – These popular soybean pods are rich in protein, fiber and various nutrients. They make a satisfying salty, vegetable-based snack that promotes fullness.

Air-Fried Vegetables or Fruits – From classic potatoes to fruit options like apples or pineapple, slicing produce thin and then “frying” in an air fryer with little to no oil cuts fat and calories while retaining crunch.

Hummus and Raw Vegetable Spears – Carrot, celery, jicama, and bell pepper sticks dipped in protein-rich hummus make for a lighter combo meal with fiber, nutrients, and satisfaction.

In the end, emphasizing whole food, minimally processed snacks centered around vegetables, fruits, legumes/beans, whole grains, etc., meets cravings for salt, crunch, and even light sweetness much more healthfully!

Popcorn – Air-popped popcorn sprinkled lightly with spices offers a voluminous, whole-grain snack full of fiber for very reasonable calorie counts that satisfy cravings.

5 foods that protect your teeth


Water not only rinses away food debris, but it also helps replenish saliva in your mouth which is critical for managing your mouth’s microbiome and essential for the process of demineralization.


Dairy products are high in calcium, which is essential for the health and resilience of your teeth. Your body needs lots of calcium to help maintain adequate bone density. Look for dairy products enriched with vitamin D, which helps with calcium absorption into the body and plays a critical role in the health of your body in its own right.


Seafoods such as scallops, sardines, shrimp, tuna, and salmon are rich in phosphorus, which, after calcium, is the second most abundant mineral in the human body. Phosphorus is directly embedded in your teeth and bones.


Vegetables provide a plethora of vitamins critical to the health of your teeth, including vitamin D which aids in the absorption of both calcium and phosphorus. Additionally, fibrous vegetables also act as a natural toothbrush gently scraping off plaque and food debris as you eat.


A growing body of research is beginning to show that your mouth, and by extension your teeth and gums, are a rich substrate for a huge mass of microbes that compose a person’s microbiome. Keeping your mouth and teeth healthy involves keeping the bad, acid-producing bacteria in check.

While this is typically accomplished through brushing and flossing, another way to control harmful bacteria is to help the good bacteria out-compete them. Eating probiotic foods, like specially formulated probiotic yogurt, can introduce benign bacteria that can overwhelm and outcompete the nastier strains.

5 easy Routines that Protect your Teeth

Drink water after consuming coffee and/or tea

Coffee and tea are notable as not only the first and second most popular beverages in the world, they are also known for their potent staining ability. To make matters worse, both drinks are especially acidic and will erode enamel over time. This double whammy of staining tannins and enamel-eroding acidity make both drinks particularly troublesome for healthy teeth.

To help with this problem, try drinking a sip of water after each sip of coffee and tea. Not only will this help you stay hydrated (caffeinated drinks are known diuretics), it will also help restore the PH of your mouth and rinse away tannins.

Slice food that requires biting into

Apples, corn-on-the-cob, carrots and other foods that may subject your teeth to shear forces are responsible for unknown cases of broken and chipped teeth. This all-too-common cause of tooth loss can be easily avoided: simply slice the offending food into smaller pieces. Slice apples and carrots and remove corn kernels from the cob. It’s as simple as that.

Dump the carbs

Carbohydrates, particularly the simple starches found in such staple foods bread, rice, and potatoes, are bad for your teeth (and your health in general) for many reasons.For starters, starches easily convert into sugars in the mouth. Carbohydrates tend to also stick to the surface of your teeth making for a highly damaging combination of delivering sugar directly to sugar-loving, acid-emitting microbes that like to live on your teeth. As we know, acid is the enemy of your teeth. Encouraging the flourishing of acid-producing bacteria is just not a good idea.

Use a straw

Your teeth, particularly the enamel, are often the first point of contact for the contents of a variety of popular beverages and drinks. In practice, that means your teeth are exposed to highly acidic liquids and chemicals over an extended period of time. Fruit juices, sodas, and other acidic or sugary drinks have the unfortunate side effect of eroding enamel and promoting the growth of acid-spewing bacteria.

Using a straw neatly bypasses the teeth entirely allowing you to enjoy your beverage without completely exposing your teeth to damaging acids. While it may look silly to sip your coffee or tea with a straw, it might be a habit to pick up if you want your teeth to stay strong and shiny for as long as possible.

Make the decision to eat healthy and get regular teeth cleanings

At the end of the day, the most efficient way to ensure healthy teeth is to ensure the health of the rest of your body. Eating a balanced diet with the recommended amounts of critical macro and micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, will go a long way toward achieving that goal. Also, ensure you get regular teeth cleanings.

Calcium through dairy products, phosphorus through lean proteins, and the vitamins found in vegetables are critical for every aspect of a tooth’s health from the strength and resilience of its enamel to its ability to ward off infections and promote dentin regeneration.

Remember, each component of your body, from your mouth to your heart and brain, is intimately and inextricably connected and dependent on each other. Did you know, for example, that infections of the gum can actually directly contribute to heart failure? What this means, is that caring for your teeth is more than just routine brushing and flossing. It’s part of a holistic understanding that caring for one part of the body is beneficial for the whole.

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