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There’s no question that oral health is essential for your overall health.

Unless chosen and consumed with care,  the foods you eat and liquids you drink can have a negative impact on both your oral health, as well as your health in general.

As with your overall health,  it’s important to monitor your intake of certain types of foods and drinks for your oral health too. With too many damaging foods and drinks, your teeth and gums could be susceptible to erosion, plaque buildup and cavities – among other dangerous things.

Below is a list of the top foods and drinks to consume in moderation and/or avoid to ensure optimal oral health:

1.) Highly Acidic Foods: Why are they dangerous? The acid from certain foods can erode your teeth’s enamel, causing cavities and/or tooth decay over time. Types of acidic foods to limit or avoid when possible: lemons, tomatoes and pickles.

2.) Highly Sugary Foods: Why are they dangerous? The bad bacteria in your mouth love sugar – consuming a lot of sugary foods is the first step in the cavity formation process. Types of sugary foods/drinks to limit or avoid when possible: pure sugar, dried fruit and desserts.

3.) Carbonated Drinks: Why are they dangerous? Many studies have linked carbonated drinks, or soda, to cavities. Sodas are like a double whammy with how high they are in both acid and sugar. Soda enables plaque to produce more acid, which will attack your tooth enamel. Not only does it dry out your mouth too, it can also discolor or stain your teeth.

4.) Ice: Why is it dangerous? It’s only frozen water – how bad can it be? Chewing on a hard substance, like ice, can damage your enamel and make your teeth susceptible to chipping, cracking or breaking and/or loosening your crowns.

5.) Alcoholic Drinks: Why are they dangerous? Alcoholic beverages can seriously damage your oral health because of the dehydration and dry mouth they cause. Dry mouth reduces saliva flow, which can ultimately bring about serious problems for your mouth, like tooth decay and even gum disease.

Make sure to consume the above types of foods and drinks in moderation and brush your teeth after eating or drinking these things, among other tactics to care for your oral health.

You can also talk to your dentist in order to gain further insights on how your dietary choices affect your teeth.