There are so many ways we can damage our teeth with the foods that we eat. Setting good examples for the foods and drinks we consume will help put our children on the right path to positive dental health. The following six foods/drinks are among some of the worst if they are consumed on a regular basis. If you cannot give it up entirely, make sure to follow good oral care after consuming these products.

Hard Candies

No matter how you consume hard candies, they can cause serious problems for your teeth. Sucking on them too much over-exposes your teeth to sugar, which can cause enamel issues. Trying to chomp on or chew hard candies can result in dental emergencies, such as a broken or chipped tooth.

Try this: If you need something to chew on or suck, find sugarless gum with the ADA seal of approval on it.

Citrus Foods

Citrus foods are extremely acidic, and acidic foods can quickly erode the enamel on your teeth, which makes them more susceptible to decay over time. Citric foods and juices also irritate any mouth sores you may have more than other foods. Even squeezing lemon or lime into your water can cause reactions on your teeth from the exposure to the acid from the citrus fruit.

Try this: Drink plenty of plain water–please hold the lemon squeeze!

Sticky Foods

Because sticky foods are, well sticky, they tend to stick and stay on the surface of your teeth. Anything from dried fruit and trail mix to fruit snacks and toffee will become a problem for your teeth. If you must indulge in a sticky snack, rinse often with water.

Try this: Any day you decide to eat sticky foods, pay close attention to your brushing a flossing to make sure you remove any remnants of the sticky substances.

Sports Drinks & Soda

Both soda and sports drinks contain high amounts of sugar that enable plaque bacteria to produce acids that attack your enamel. Carbonated drinks, such as soda, are acidic and create problems for your teeth. Sports drinks are usually unnecessary, even for young athletes, and are loaded with sugars. Sugary drinks like sports drinks and sodas can also dry out your mouth and cause dehydration.

Try this: Swap out your sports drinks and sodas with good old-fashioned water. If you have to have one occasionally, have water nearby and take sips in-between.

Coffee & Tea

Coffee and tea in its natural form without anything added is actually very healthy to ingest. However, many people add cream, sugar, or other sweeteners to their coffee and teas. The added sugar can cause damage to your teeth over time. Additionally, caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee, dry out your mouth and can stain your teeth.

Try this: Minimize or cut out the amount of added sugars and creams in your tea and coffee. Drink plenty of water between cups of coffee/tea.

Crunchy Foods

The potato chip industry is your leading manufacturer for crunchy foods. They also create products that are filled with starch, which can easily be trapped within your teeth. Most people tend to snack on chips occasionally, but it is best to keep these crunchy foods out of your diet as much as possible.

Try this: Any time you have potato chips, take extra time to floss carefully and remove all food particles from between your teeth.

Realistically, avoiding all of these foods can seem daunting. The best route you can take to make sure you are taking care of your oral health is to follow our tips when consuming these foods and drinks. While they are detrimental to your teeth and mouth during over-consumption, eating them in small portions infrequently is a smart way to be able to enjoy a treat and stay on top of your smile.