5 Sneaky Foods That Cause Tooth Decay

Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in your mouth interact with sugar and starches to make acids which attack the enamel. It can lead to cavities, infection, tooth loss and other serious outcomes. Tooth decay is common; with 92% of adults between 20 and 64 having experienced it to some degree, tooth decay is considered the most prevalent chronic disease. While everyone knows that candy, sweets and soda are bad for our teeth, there are a number of foods that contribute to tooth decay that you may not be aware of. 

Radiance Dental believes in keeping people informed and empowered to experience great oral health. We’ve compiled a list of surprising foods that cause tooth decay and how to enjoy them safely. 

Potato Chips

Enjoyed on their own or as a backyard barbeque side, potato chips are one of the popular snack foods in the country. Because they’re not loaded with sugar, you may think they’re not so bad for your teeth, but in fact they’re a major culprit for tooth decay. The starch from the chips becomes sugar that feeds the bacteria in plaque, turning it into acid. When you indulge on a bag of chips, make sure to floss, rinse and brush right away. 


Like potato chips, bread contains a high amount of starch which your saliva breaks down into sugars. As you chew, the texture becomes gummy and sticks in the crevices between your teeth delivering all that sugar to places plaque is most likely to build up. Most breads also contain added sugar, making a feeding frenzy for the acid-producing bacteria in plaque. Opt for less refined and whole wheat options for your next sandwich, and make sure to floss afterwards.


While citrus fruits are packed with vitamins that are great for the body, their acidity can erode the enamel of your teeth leading to decay. When enjoying citrus juice, use a straw to limit contact with your teeth. Make sure to avoid other acidic foods when you eat citrus and for a couple hours afterwards. Whether eating or drinking citrus, make sure to rinse your mouth thoroughly when you’re finished. 

Dried Fruit

Dried fruit is an excellent source of fiber and other essential nutrients, but its stickiness traps sugar on, around and between your teeth. Because its health benefits are so outstanding, you shouldn’t cut dried fruit out of your diet. When you have it in your trail mix, oatmeal or as a snack make sure to rinse with water, brush and floss. 


While not technically a food and completely free of the starches and sugars that feed that bacteria in plaque, ice is a sneaky assistant to tooth decay. Chewing and crunching ice is destructive for tooth enamel, leaving your teeth especially vulnerable to decay. Flossing can’t help you here. It’s time to break the ice habit. 

Fight Tooth Decay with Radiance Dental 

While much of the work to maintain a healthy smile is done at home, regular visits to the dentist are necessary for protecting your oral and overall health. Radiance Dental provides general, pediatric and cosmetic dentistry services to make sure the whole family has healthy, happy smiles. Our dedicated staff is committed to continued education to learn the latest techniques and technologies to provide the best available care for our patients. We provide a safe, comfortable atmosphere for regular cleanings, important questions and the treatments our patients need to put their best smile forward. Schedule an appointment with Radiance Dental today.