The Top 10 Foods to Avoid for Cavity Prevention

Tips for cavity prevention

10 foods that contribute to dental decay.

Alongside oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist, diet plays a vital role in cavity prevention. Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in your mouth metabolize food and secrete acid, eroding the enamel. 

What you eat affects bacteria and acidity levels, so avoiding these ten foods can help you fight back against tooth decay:

1. Sticky Sweets and Candy

Candy is well-known as a major contributor to cavities. This is particularly true for children, so avoiding sticky and sugary sweets is a great way to reduce your child’s risk of tooth decay. However, candy can affect smiles for patients of any age.

Sugar provides a rich food source for bacteria. However, that’s not the only problem. Candy is also often sticky, which means residue is left behind on your teeth. This provides a long-lasting food source, so bacteria can maintain consistently high acidity levels. These are the perfect conditions for tooth decay.

2. Sugary Drinks

For optimal cavity prevention avoid all types of sugary beverages. Juice, soda, and even coffee or tea with sugar can all lead to tooth decay. You’d be surprised by just how much sugar these drinks contain, providing plenty of food for bacteria.

Sipping away at a drink over a long period of time can further compound the issue. This is the same problem that causes baby bottle tooth decay in children who continuously drink from a bottle or sippy cup. If you keep your teeth in contact with sugary drinks for  long periods, you allow for significant bacterial growth and acid production.

3. Starchy Snacks

While most people are aware that candy is a snack to avoid, they may not be aware of the impact that starchy snacks can have. You might not think that crackers, chips, and cookies are major tooth decay risks, but they absolutely are.

These foods crumble into tiny pieces that get stuck between teeth. They hold up very well in your mouth and can remain there for a long time. This provides lasting food for bacteria in much the same way that sticky foods can. At the very least, make sure to follow up any starchy snacks with plenty of water for effective cavity prevention.

4. Acidic Foods and Drinks

A main concern around tooth decay is acid produced by bacteria, which can dissolve the mineral crystals that enamel is made of. However, the acid in certain foods and drinks has the same effect on enamel, including: 

  • Soda
  • Coffee
  • Tea 
  • Wine
  • Citrus fruits and juice
  • Vinegar-based dressings
  • Tomato sauces

These foods and beverages are all highly acidic and can weaken your enamel, leading to cavities.

5. Dried Fruits

You might think that dried fruits are a healthy alternative to candy. In many ways, they are, but not when it comes to your teeth. The concentrated sugars and stickiness of dried fruits can make them just as bad for your teeth as candy. You could find yourself in need of restorative dentistry down the line if these are your go-to snacks.

6. Chewy and Gummy Snacks

Various gummy snacks can also cause cavities—even those made from natural fruits. While they’re a favorite for school lunches, these snacks are a poor choice as far as cavity prevention is concerned. They stick to teeth as easily as candy and can have high sugar content.

7. Sports and Energy Drinks

Sports and energy drinks are often seen as healthier than soda, but they can pose similar problems when it comes to tooth decay. They can have very high sugar levels and acidity, even if they aren’t carbonated or are derived from natural fruit juices.

8. Fruit Juices

Natural fruit juice is often a better choice than soda, but it still isn’t great for teeth. Fruit juices can be both sugary and acidic. Processed juices also lack natural fruit pulp, which helps clean teeth in completely natural juice.

9. Alcohol

Alcohol presents a wide range of health risks, including tooth decay. Many alcoholic beverages are loaded with various mixers that contain high sugar levels. Even simple alcoholic beverages are bad for your teeth because they can cause dry mouth, inhibiting saliva production that normally helps regulate bacteria levels.

10. White Bread and Processed Carbs

The bacteria in your mouth are simple organisms with limited ability to break down certain foods. They work best with simple sugars but struggle with more complex carbohydrates. White bread and other processed carbs are full of simple sugars, while whole-grain and other complex carbs provide less available food for bacteria.

Your Premier Dentist Near Omaha for Cavity Prevention

Making informed choices when it comes to your food and beverages is key for protecting your oral health.

Along with maintaining a healthy diet, you can reduce your risk of tooth decay by keeping up with routine dental visits. The Tooth Doc provides regular dental evaluations and teeth cleaning, along with the full range of preventive, restorative, and cosmetic treatment options designed to help your whole family enjoy happy and healthy smiles. Contact us to schedule your next appointment today.