Brushing, flossing, tongue scraping, and regular professional cleanings aren’t enough to keep your teeth in excellent condition. What you do to maintain a healthy smile is just as important as what you don’t. Avoiding certain foods and drinks that can damage your teeth is crucial. Consumption of the wrong things can cause several issues for your teeth, including decay, inflammation due to imbalanced bacteria, and wear from stress imposed by tough-to-chew foods.

1. ALL THINGS SUGAR, ESPECIALLY IF IT’S STICKY
• If you’re surprised by this one, you just haven’t been listening all along. The number one high-risk thing you can do for your teeth is consume sugar. It breaks down from the bacteria in your mouth and causes demineralization or decay of the enamel. The worst offenders are gummy candies that stick to your teeth.

2. ALL THINGS ACIDIC
• Acidic foods and drinks are the second-worst enemy of oral health. Anything that has an acidic environment throws off the balancing act between good and bad bacteria. And when you have too much bad bacteria, it sets up an environment for the bad bugs that cause inflammation in the mouth to thrive. It also causes tooth wear and erosion.

3. NUTS
• It’s not so much that you need to avoid consuming nuts as it is that you might need to alter the way in which you consume them. Opening pistachios with your front teeth or eating hard nuts will wear those teeth down. Especially if you’ve had dental work (e.g., crowns or veneers) done.

4. SEEDS & KERNELS
• Seeds can get stuck in the spaces between your teeth or get under the gums, creating a painful abscess. Popcorn kernels are problematic in this way, too. And while you don’t have to completely cut them out of your diet, it’s a good idea to chase them with a glass of water and brush your teeth after consumption.

5. ICE
• For some reason people like to chew on ice. That will definitely break your teeth. For this reason (and because sugar), hard candies should also be avoided.

6. STARCHY SNACKS
• Starchy foods like chips can be bad, too. This is due to their sugar content, but also because they tend to crumble into tiny pieces that stick to and between your teeth. It ends up putting a lot of sugar in those areas around your teeth and makes them prone to decay.