More than a quarter of American adults are thought to have untreated cavities.

Cavities are caused by many different factors, including bacteria in the mouth, sugary and starchy foods, and poor dental hygiene.

While most people are aware that candy, soda, and other sugary treats can cause cavities, there are also some unexpected foods that can lead to tooth decay. Let’s go through the top foods that cause cavities.

1. Dried Fruits

Dried fruits are cavity causing foods because they are often high in sugar and sticky. When we eat dried fruits, the sugar content can feed the bacteria in our mouths, leading to the production of acid that can erode tooth enamel and lead to cavities.

The sticky nature of dried fruits means that they can cling to teeth and stay in contact with the enamel for longer periods of time, increasing the risk of decay.

While dried fruits can be healthy due to their high fiber and nutrient content, it’s important to consume them in moderation and to rinse your mouth completely out with water afterward to help remove any lingering sugars and sticky bits.

You should also wait at least half an hour before brushing your teeth, as the sugar and acid content in dried fruits can soften tooth enamel, and brushing immediately after consuming them can cause further damage to the enamel.

If you do choose to eat dried fruits, you should choose unsweetened varieties. Many commercial brands of dried fruits are coated with additional sugars. You can also try combining dried fruits with nuts or seeds to help neutralize the sugar content and add protein and healthy fats to your snack.

2. Crackers and Chips

These snack foods can be just as bad for your teeth as candy. 

Crackers and chips are often high in starches, which can be broken down into sugars by the enzymes in our saliva. When these sugars combine with the bacteria in our mouths, they can form an acid that attacks your enamel, leading to tooth decay.

In addition to the starch content, some types of crackers and chips can also be sticky, which means that they can cling to teeth and increase the risk of cavities. This is particularly true for crackers and chips that are flavored with sugar or honey. 

3. Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes, are also on the list of tooth damaging foods.

When we eat citrus fruits, the acid in the fruit can erode the enamel on our teeth. This makes them more susceptible to decay over time. This can be particularly problematic if we consume a lot of citrus fruits or if we frequently drink citrus juices.

However, it’s important to note that citrus fruits are also a good way to add vitamin C and other important nutrients to your diet.

To reduce your tooth decay risk when consuming citrus fruits, it’s a good idea to eat them as part of a complete and balanced meal rather than as a stand-alone snack.  This can help to neutralize the acid in the mouth by increasing saliva production and reducing the time period acid is touching our teeth.

You should also rinse your mouth after consuming citrus fruits or citrus juices and, like with dried fruit, wait before brushing your teeth.

This is because brushing immediately after consuming acidic foods or drinks can actually cause further damage to the enamel, as the acid softens the enamel, making it more susceptible to abrasion from brushing. Talk to your dentist about what other services they recommend for tooth protection.

4. Sports Drinks

These drinks are often marketed as a healthy alternative to soda, but they can be just as bad for your teeth, due to their high sugar content. 

Sports drinks can be bad for teeth because they are often high in sugar and acidic. The sugar in sports drinks can feed the bacteria in our mouths, leading to acid production that can lead to cavities.

Additionally, the acid content in sports drinks can also contribute to tooth decay by eroding the enamel and making teeth more susceptible to damage.

5. Pickles

Pickles can be one of the causes of cavities because of their acid levels. The vinegar and other acidic ingredients that are used to pickle cucumbers can erode tooth enamel.

In addition to the acid content, some types of pickles can also be high in sugar, which can worsen your cavity risk. This is particularly true for sweet pickles and bread-and-butter pickles, which are often made with added sugar.

That being said, pickles can also have health benefits, as they are low in calories. They’re also a great source of vitamin K, which is important for bone health.

6. Diet Soda

Diet soda can be bad for teeth because it is acidic and can erode tooth enamel over time.  While diet sodas don’t have real sugar, they often contain artificial sweeteners such as aspartame or sucralose, which do not directly harm teeth but can contribute to tooth decay by promoting harmful bacterial growth.

Additionally, the acidity in diet soda can weaken tooth enamel, so your teeth will be more prone to damage from other factors, such as brushing too hard or consuming sugary or acidic foods and drinks.

7. Pasta Sauce

Pasta sauce can be bad for teeth if they have high sugar or acid levels. When sugar and acid combine with bacteria in the mouth, they can create an environment that is conducive to tooth decay and gum disease.

Some pasta sauces can be high in sugar, especially those that are marketed as “sweet” or that contain added sugar. Additionally, acidic pasta sauces, such as those that contain tomatoes, can erode tooth enamel over time, making teeth more susceptible to decay and sensitivity.

However, not all pasta sauces are bad for teeth. Some pasta sauces, such as pesto or alfredo sauce, contain less sugar and are less acidic, making them a better choice for dental health.

Foods That Cause Cavities: Now You Know

You’ll need to remember that moderation is the best choice when it comes to foods that cause cavities. While you don’t have to avoid them altogether, you’ll still need to stay abreast of good dental practices.

Do you need a dentist in Lakeway, Texas? Contact Skyridge Dental today.