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Among adults ages 20 to 64, more than 90% have had at least one cavity. Meanwhile, 27% had untreated tooth decay. The main culprit?

The food we eat!

Changing your diet can help you avoid a painful oral infection. After all, we are what we eat. Certain foods and beverages can increase plaque, which is a sticky film full of bacteria that clings to our teeth.

That plaque can, in time, become tartar, which leads to gum disease and tooth decay.

Don’t leave yourself at risk! Ditch the foods that can break down your enamel and leave your teeth at risk.

Keep reading to discover the five unhealthy foods to avoid if you want to dodge oral infection.

1. Sour Candy

Everyone loves a little candy. Whether you’re still going through your Halloween stash or grabbing your favorites before movie night, think twice. Your favorite sweet or sour candies can hurt your dental health.

Dentists have warned us since we were kids, but why?

Sour candy is one of the worst candies you can eat for your teeth. Unlike most other candies, sour candy contains more acid. These acids are tougher on the teeth and therefore able to break down tooth enamel.

Chewy candies, such as gummy worms, are bad for your teeth as well.

These candies stick and cling to your teeth longer. The longer those candies stay, the more likely they are to contribute to an oral infection.

If you’re craving a sweet treat, dodge sour candies or gummy worms. Instead, look for dark chocolate. Chocolate melts quickly and washes away, so it won’t cling to your teeth.

Meanwhile, dark chocolate contains less sugar than other candies, so it would produce as much bacteria in your mouth!

2. Bread and Chips

The peanut butter and jelly sandwiches you grew up eating as a kid can hurt your oral health, too. The next time you walk down the bread aisle, reconsider grabbing a loaf of bread.

As you chew bread, your saliva breaks the starch down, transforming it into sugar. Gummy and paste-like, that bread then sticks to your teeth, hiding away in hard-to-reach crevices. The longer the bread and sugar sticks around, the more time it has to build bacteria in your mouth.

The next time you’re craving carves, avoid white bread. Instead, look for a less-refined variety. For example, whole wheat is a healthy alternative. It contains less sugar, helping you avoid an oral infection before it can start.

Like bread, potato chips are full of starch, which become sugar after you chew on them. Those sugars get trapped between your teeth, providing bacteria with time to become plaque.

Chips also increase acid production.

If you do decide to eat bread or chips, make sure to floss afterward. Flossing can help you free those lingering pieces from between your teeth. Brush away what remains and you’re good to go.

You can also try these healthy nutrition tips to promote positive oral health.

3. Carbonated Beverages

Oral diseases affect over 50% of the world population, or 3.58 billion people. For many people, the main culprit is often what they drink as well as eat.

For example, carbonated beverages such as soda contain large amounts of sugar. In fact, drinking large quantities of soda encourages plaque to produce more acid, which then attacks your tooth enamel. This can lead to an oral infection if you’re not brushing up!

As you sip soda throughout the day, imagine your teeth becoming coated in a layer of acid.

Soda also dries out your mouth. This can cut down your saliva production, which you need for a healthy mouth. Without saliva, you can’t wash away any lingering food particles without help from a brush and floss.

Sodas also contain food dyes, which can discolor and stain your teeth.

The next time you drink soda, wash it down with a glass of water. Don’t brush your teeth right after drinking soda, which can encourage decay. Instead, hydrate yourself with that glass of water before continuing through your day.

As a note, alcohol can also dehydrate you. Like soda, alcohol dries out your mouth and reduces saliva production. Remember, you need that saliva to keep food from sticking to your teeth.

Saliva can also help you avoid the early development of gum disease, tooth decay, and oral infection.

If you drink a lot of soda or alcohol, make sure to drink water!

4. Citrus and Dried Fruit

Many of us love lemons, grapefruits, and oranges for our healthy dose of vitamin C. Unfortunately, these beloved fruits can also impact our oral health. Citrus fruits contain acid, which can erode enamel and leave our teeth vulnerable.

Reconsider adding a little lemon or lime to your water. Even then, the citrus can add acid to your drink.

The acid in citrus can also aggravate mouth sores.

If you need to add antioxidants and vitamins to your diet, make sure to eat or drink citrus in moderation. Then, follow up with a glass of water afterward.

Like sticky candies, dried fruit can also cling to the crevices of your teeth. These fruits include dried raisins, figs, prunes, and apricots. As they stick to your teeth, they also leave sugar behind, which can lead to an oral infection.

If you love dried fruit, make sure to rinse your mouth with water afterward.

Don’t forget to brush and floss, too!

5. Pickles

Pickles soak in acid during the pickling process. The acid, or vinegar, provides pickles with their salty, sour flavor. However, that acid can also contribute to an oral infection.

Acid can potentially break down your enamel. The wear and tear leaves your teeth vulnerable to bacteria, which can soon become plaque.

Brush Up & Floss Them Out: 5 Unhealthy Foods That Cause Oral Infection

Brush up on this list before you start snacking! By avoiding these five unhealthy foods, you can also avoid an oral infection!

Otherwise, you might find yourself in the dentist’s chair, showing off your cavities.

Want to avoid an oral infection? Schedule an appointment with us today!