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18 August 2015

Your food and drink and how they affect your teeth and gums.

Here at our Surbiton dentist, we’re no stranger to the ever increasing marketing of sugary foods our patients are exposed to. However, we also know how confusing it can be when it comes to consuming the right food and drink for our teeth.

It’s obvious that a sugary cola drink isn’t good news for our smile, but when we’re told fruit is sugary and bad for our teeth, but it also has whitening properties things can get a bit more confusing.

For this reason, we’ve compiled a few useful tips to help you determine exactly which foods are the best and worst for your teeth:


Citrus Fruit/ Juice

When it comes to your teeth, these vitamin C packed wonders are super acidic and tooth enamel may become eroded with prolonged exposure to these kinds of food and drink. Orange juice is not as acidic as other citrus, so if you need your vitamin C hit, opt for orange juice.


It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know sweets are bad for your physical and oral health. Chewy sweets are probably the worst for your teeth as they move around in the mouth for longer than other sweets. Chewy toffees are laden with sugar and fruity sour chewy sweets are not only sugary but super acidic, making them doubly bad for your teeth.

Boiled sweets are nearly as bad as chewy sweets, as they stay in your mouth for a while and many fruity types contain citric acid again doubling the negative exposure to acid and sugar just like fruity chewy sweets.

Gherkins & Other Pickled Veg

Any vegetable that is pickled is done so using vinegar which is highly acidic. However, pickled vegetables aren’t something most of us eat in large quantities, so unless you’re an absolute gherkin fiend, you probably don’t need to worry about the odd pickled onion having an effect on your oral health.

Sugary Drinks

Many people think the sugar in sugary drinks is the only potential hazard to their teeth, and of course it really can rot the teeth over time. However, sugary carbonated drinks also contain a lot of acid, which can be even more harmful to the teeth than the sugar. Did you know you can clean a toilet with a cola drink? Something to think about when you consider the effects it might have on your teeth…

And don’t forget, sugar free or diet varieties can contain just as much acid, so although the sugar won’t be eating away at your teeth, the acid will, so consuming any variety as little as possible is a good thing to do.


Anything that stains fabric, will stain your teeth, and we all know how damaging a red wine spillage can be on a tablecloth! Red wine will discolour your teeth because of the chromogens and tannins within it. White wine isn’t as bad when it comes to staining, but it is erosive which means it can contribute to more porous teeth making them more susceptible to staining from other substances.

Coffee & Tea

Coffee stains on teeth are incredibly resistant to brushing, even more so than tobacco stains. Whenever a patient has teeth whitening with us as part of our cosmetic dentistry range of treatments, we always advise avoiding coffee (as well as other food and drink) as much as possible after the procedure as it is particularly good at staining teeth quickly and being difficult to remove when it has stained the teeth. Black tea can also stain the teeth as it also contains tannin just like red wine.


Sugar-free Gum

There’s plenty of adverts telling us about different sugar-free chewing gums that are ‘dentist approved’ and they’re not lying, sugar-free gum is actually a really good thing for your teeth. It helps stimulate the production of saliva which helps get rid of acid in your mouth. It also exposes the teeth to calcium and many varieties contain an alcohol that helps get rid of bacteria in the mouth. Just make sure you stick to mint rather than fruity flavours which can harm the teeth.


Water is great for pretty much everything to do with the body – the skin, the organs, the brain and of course – the teeth. It helps wash nasty bacteria and acids off the teeth and the fluoride in tap water (and some mineral water) helps protect your teeth against damage.


Dairy contains loads of calcium which contributes to healthy teeth. The protein in dairy also helps stabilise and repair tooth enamel.

Leafy Greens & Fibre-Rich Foods

Leafy greens and any other fibre-rich foods that take a lot of chewing are great for the health of our teeth. As well as the chewing action making our mouth produce lots of saliva, the food also naturally cleans the teeth as it is being chewed up.


Strawberries do contain sugar, but they also contain malic acid which is a natural tooth whitener. Catherine Zeta Jones swears by strawberries as her natural tooth whitening solution and who are we to argue with that A list smile?

So there you have it, just some of the worst and best food and drink for your teeth. Remember, as with your physical health – everything in moderation will not do you any damage as long as you are mindful of what you eat and drink, you’ll be able to maintain that happy smile for many years to come.

Confidental Clinic in Surbiton, The Modern Face Of Dentistry

If you would like to come in to our modern Surbiton dentist to talk to us about your general dental needs, or about any of our cosmetic dentistry treatments, please give us a call on 020 8399 1291 and we will be more than happy to get you booked in.

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