Growing up with a dentist as a father gave me a completely different outlook on my diet than most other kids. Candy was a definite “no” and soft drinks were to be consumed scarcely. I still find that most people don’t know what’s good for you and what’s just plain horrible, so here are 5 foods and drinks you should definitely not put your mouth through.

1. Milk


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This is a biggie. Tons of kids have a glass of milk before bed and although the jury is still out on whether it’s good for your bones, there is no doubt that it’s bad for your teeth. There are several sugars in milk that you don’t even think about, and a quick brush of the teeth isn’t gonna get rid of those. The thicker the drink, the more it coats your teeth and the worse it is for you. It might just be better to eat a piece of cheese if you crave dairy before bed.

2. Orange Juice


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Anything acidic really is gonna harm your teeth. The problem with orange juice is that no matter how organic and natural it is, there’s nothing natural about the concentration of orange in there. As my dad always says, having an orange is fine, but cramming 5 oranges into a glass and drinking it is another story. Just like milk, it coats your teeth and stays on there all night long. Most people think brushing your teeth is like an eraser, but it takes a long time for your mouth to recover from an acidic attack like OJ.

3. Salad Dressing


Photo by Bernard Wen

If you think you’re being all healthy by eating a salad every day, you’re not thinking about your precious mouth. Balsamic is a great topping to a salad, but it’s very acidic and eating it too often can do serious damage to your teeth. At a pH level of about 5.5, your teeth start to dissolve, so watch how much acidic food is in your diet.

4. Dried Fruit


Photo by Niki Laskaris

Dried fruits are packed with sugar and they stick to the plaque on your teeth. What happens when you eat sugary foods is that the bacteria in your mouth converts the sugars to acids making your mouth an acidic environment. That’s how you get cavities.

5. Bread


Photo by Christin Urso

Stuff like chips and bread might seem harmless but they can also be damaging to your teeth. Lots of bread has hidden sugars just like milk and yogurt, so looking for a loaf with the least amount of sugars will benefit your mouth and your body. Don’t forget that bread gets all mixed up with your saliva when you chew, and the more it sticks in between your teeth, the worse it is for your dental hygiene.