You know your dentist isn't sneaking candy in the middle of the day or washing down lunch with a full-sugar soda. But we'll bet you never knew dentists also shake their heads at apples, pasta sauce and bottled water. These and many other foods may be healthy to eat or drink, but they could be damaging your teeth. Prevention magazine polled top oral hygiene experts nationwide to find out what they won't eat -- and wish their patients didn't either. Here are 10 foods your dentist won't eat. Should you?
1. Diet soda
The acid in all soft drinks, even diet soda, can weaken tooth enamel. What can you do? Use a straw so you can limit the contact the beverage has with your teeth.
Crunchy fruits and vegetables can crack or damage teeth that are already weak or fragile. What can you do? Cut apples into bite-sized pieces.
It's a hot summer day, and chewing the ice in your beverage can help make you cooler. But don't do it! Chewing ice can easily crack or break teeth. What can you do? Gently suck on the ice.
4. Corn on the cob
Biting into corn on the cob can loosen or crack fillings and sealants, displace dentures and damage orthodontic wires and brackets. What can you do? Use a sharp knife to scrape the corn off the cob so you can still enjoy this favorite summertime food.
5. Pasta sauce
Tooth enamel is quite porous, and dark-colored foods, such as pasta sauce can easily be absorbed, causing stains. In addition, acid in the tomatoes makes teeth temporarily more porous, compounding the problem. What can you do? Between bites of pasta sauce, swish plenty of water in your mouth.
6. Bottled water
When bottled water is purified, it becomes more acidic. That acid can damage your teeth so much it causes cavities. What can you do? Drink tap water. It really is better for you.
7. Breath mints
No one wants stinky breath, and if you can't brush your teeth, a breath mint can help your mouth feel cleaner. But sucking on a breath mint is like sucking on pure sugar. What can you do? Opt for sugar-free breath mints that are sweetened with xylitol, a substance that appears to combat the bacteria associated with tooth decay.
8. White bread
Just like other refined carbohydrates, white bread contains simple sugars that dissolve in your mouth and cause a surge of acid that can erode tooth enamel. What can you do? Choose whole grain breads.
9. Citrus fruits
They range from the commonplace--grapefruit, oranges and lemons--to the exotic--tangelos, pummelo and kumquats--but they all have one thing in common: acid that can strip your teeth of its enamel. What can you do? Drink water when you eat citrus fruits to neutralize the acid attack.
10. Black tea
When it comes to your teeth, black tea is a better option than coffee; however, both are known for their potential to stain your pearly whites. Beware the tannins in darker teas, such as Earl Gray and English Breakfast, which are significantly more likely to cause unsightly stains. What can you do? Drink green tea or herbal varieties instead.