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You know there are foods that are better for you than others, but can you identify the top nine that can damage your teeth? Some of the answers may surprise you, but there are some alternatives that can take their place.

1. Hard candies: Did this one shock you? We didn’t think so. Consistent exposure to sugar can be harmful and may lead to damage, while chewing on the hard candies can cause damage to the tooth. An alternative we may suggest is sugarless gum.

2. Ice: We all know someone who enjoys chewing ice—especially the pebbled variety. However, it can leave you vulnerable to a dental emergency and can even damage your enamel. Perhaps try a cold drink of water instead.

3. Acidic Foods: These can erode the enamel on your teeth—once that’s gone, it’s gone for good. A lot of people enjoy adding lemon or lime juice to water, but you may want to consider simply drinking plain water instead. Citrus fruits can also aggravate mouth sores.

4. Coffee: While the occasional cup is fine, frequently drinking tea or coffee may stain your teeth. Adding extra additives may also pose a problem. It can also leave your mouth dry, so be sure to drink lots of water.

5. Sticky foods: These can stick to your teeth and be difficult to remove. The sugars contained within them may promote plaque growth. After eating, rinse your mouth with water and, if possible, brush and floss your teeth.

6. Starchy foods: These can promote plaque buildup. Instead of a chip, you could eat a carrot.

7. Sodas: Most soft drinks, including diet, are acidic and can wear away at the enamel.

8. Alcohol: Alcohol causes dehydration and dry mouth, which can lead to gum disease and tooth decay.

9. Sports Drinks: In many sports drinks sugar is the top ingredient.

Our dentist and team at Madden Dental would love to answer any questions you may have. You can call to make an appointment with Dr. Karisha Madden at (713) 667-8080 or come by our office in Bellaire, Texas.