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This Is the Worst Food for Kids' Teeth, Dentist Says

A 40-year dentistry leader explains why the worst food for children's teeth is different than for grownups!

If you're busy dinner-planning and packing lunches for a back-to-school crew, a nationally recognized dentist is revealing the list of foods that harm children's dental health. What are the worst foods for kids' teeth, along with some healthier alternatives? We have a few answers—and you might be surprised!

Dr. Ronald Plotka, DDS, is a Boston area dentist with over four decades of experience, as well as Executive Director of the dental program at Marian Court College and founder of MouthWatchers toothbrushes, designed with naturally antimicrobial flossing bristles. An authority in dental wisdom, Dr. Plotka offers guidance as you brainstorm healthy eating options for your children this school year.

Also, in other intriguing health news this weekend, don't miss One Major Side Effect of Pumpkin Spice Drinks, Experts Say.


bowl of candy

You knew this one was coming, but Plotka's scientific explanation for why candy can be so damaging to kids' teeth serves as an important reminder. When kids eat candy, "The rapid production of acid can cause significant damage to the enamel surface, which leads to cavities," Plotka tells us.

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Dried Fruits

dried fruit

When you put dried fruits in your child's lunch bag, you believe you're giving them something good. Nutritionally, you're on target; but Plotka explains why dried fruits aren't the best for your kids' teeth. "Although a 'better for you' option to candy," he says, "dried fruits can stick to children's teeth, leading to plaque formation and subsequent cavities."

We're not suggesting you should do away with dried fruits for good—in fact, a particular type appears on The One Grocery List You Need To Eat Healthy All Week, Nutrition Experts Say.

Heads-up: Sugary treats aren't the only culprits.

sugary cereal

For years, sugar has been clearly demonstrated as a common factor in the development of cavities and tooth decay. However, Plotka highlights a point that was made in a review of studies from earlier this year: In addition to sugar, starch has also been consistently linked with cavities in children.

With that in mind, keep reading to learn what Plotka says is among the very worst foods for you child's teeth. (And for a diet choice that you might be surprised to learn is beneficial to teeth, read One Major Effect of Drinking Cranberry Juice, New Study Says.)

Potato Chips

potato chips

Shocked to see potato chips on the list? Here's why, according to Plotka: "Potato chips are among the foods with the highest level of starch," he says. "This starch is very quickly broken down into sugar. This sugar takes the all-too-familiar course of causing acid production in your mouth, which leads to the destruction of children's enamel."

Don't miss the list of foods Plotka suggests are better for the whole family's oral health.

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Krissy Gasbarre
Krissy is a senior news editor at Eat This, Not That!, managing morning and weekend news related to nutrition, wellness, restaurants and groceries (with a focus on beverages), and more. Read more about Krissy
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