You worked hard to help your kids learn how to brush and floss. That’s because you know it’s your responsibility as their parent to help their dental health. They can’t take care of their own smiles if they don’t know what can help or hurt.

That’s why you need to call our Birmingham, AL dental office at 205-545-8007 and make a family dentistry appointment. Dr. Perrigo works very well with younger children, and regular dental exams and dental cleanings are needed to protect everyone’s smile.

That said, there’s more a family can do at home than just brushing and flossing. There are some foods and drinks that can hurt their smiles.

How Your Family’s Teeth Can Get Hurt

  • Sugar: Why is sugar so bad? Because harmful bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease can really thrive on sugar. It doesn’t directly hurt your family’s teeth, but it’s a sure-fire way to get tooth decay.
  • Carbs: Carbohydrates are almost as bad as sugar because they’re full of energy. That helps those bacteria multiply and create problems.
  • Acid: Acid does that you probably think it does; it burns away some of your enamel. It’s not a quick thing, but acidic foods will hurt your family’s teeth over time.
  • Hardness: Some foods are just so hard to break and chew that they wear down the enamel. This creates weak spots in teeth where cavities or cracks are more likely.
  • Stains: Just about anything dark that your family eats or drinks will leave behind small stains. Over time, these build up to turn a smile dark.

Watch Out For These Foods & Drinks


Many people like to chew ice. It cools you down on a hot summer day, and the texture is nice. However, ice is definitely one of those things that way too hard for you to be chewing it up. Breaking ice with your teeth scratched up your enamel, creating worn spots that weaken your teeth. Sucking on ice is fine; just don’t let your family chew it.


Whether it’s on pizza or covering pasta, tomato sauce (including ketchup) hurts your family’s teeth in several ways. Most have a surprising amount of sugar in it, and you know why sugar is bad. But tomato sauce is also highly acidic and very dark. You don’t have to ban it outright, but limiting how often your family eats tomato sauce is probably a good idea.


Yes, juices from oranges, apples, and grapes have a lot of vitamins in them. But they also have a lot of sugar in them. Even if you buy the unsweetened versions, fruit is full of sugar and therefore so is fruit juice. These are also highly acidic and often dark enough to leave stains on teeth.


If you go to a coffee place and get one of those giant coffee or tea drinks, chances are you’re also getting a ton of sugar. Many lattes and cappuccino drinks have more sugar than regular soda. Even if you just get a plain cup without any sugar, you’re still getting a drink that’s very dark and highly acidic. All coffee and tea will eventually damage and stain your family’s smiles.


While it’s certainly true that diet soda is better for your teeth compared with regular, sugary soda, all soda (regular and diet) is very acidic. If you left a tooth covered in diet soda long enough, it would dissolve. Plus, most sodas add coloring agents to make them dark. These can stain teeth just like coffee or tea.


Popcorn can hurt your family’s teeth in several ways. First, it’s pretty much all carbs which can be bad like sugar. Pieces of popcorn can easily get trapped between your teeth, making that problem worse. And unpopped kernels are so hard that you can damage your teeth if you bite down too hard on them.

Call us TODAY at 205-545-8007 or use our online form to make a family dentistry appointment. Dr. Perrigo is friendly and helps teach children how to better take care of their smiles. After all, even if you limit these foods and drinks, there’s only so much you can do to help.