The Healthy Foods That Are Bad For Your Teeth

As parents, we aim to do what is best for our children. However, sometimes we may not realize that what we believe is best could be harmful. Unfortunately, a lot of foods that are seen as “healthy” for children (and adults), are actually bad news for oral health. Harrisburg Pediatric Dentistry wants to help you navigate these tricky, not-so-healthy foods by letting you know what to avoid feeding your child and what to feed them instead.

Foods to Avoid to Protect Your Child’s Teeth

When you buy foods and snacks off of the shelf at the grocery store, there are a lot that come with added sugars. These sugars are the culprit for tooth decay and cavities that will harm your children’s teeth. When you’re looking to stock the pantry, we recommend avoiding:


There are a lot of children’s yogurts on the market that are designed to get kids excited about eating it. However, most of these children’s yogurts are jam-packed with refined sugars and dyes. If you’re looking for a way to get calcium into your child’s diet with dairy intake, it may be best to feed them cheese or add in an extra cup of milk.

Dried Fruit

In order to increase their shelf life, many dried fruits you find on the shelves contain a lot of refined sugars and hydrogenated oils. This immediately makes this “healthy” snack, not healthy. Shop around for dried fruit that is unsulfured and contains no added sugars.

Trail Mix and Granola

Trail mix and granola can be a healthy alternative to snacks like chips and cookies, but prepackaged mixes often have high sugar content. Instead, consider making your own healthy versions. Trail mix with nuts, seeds, healthy dried fruit, dark chocolate, and pretzels can help curb hunger and boost energy. You can create a tasty, healthy granola at home by using dry oats, unsalted nuts, cinnamon, and egg whites.


One food you may not consider as unhealthy but can wreak havoc on a child’s teeth is bread. The starch is broken down by saliva and creates a thick paste that gets caught in the crevices between teeth. If not removed by rinsing, brushing, and flossing, this can lead to tooth decay and cavities. As an alternative, whole-wheat bread is less refined and does not break down as easily.


Now you’re not wrong in thinking that fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and lemons are healthy – but they are very acidic which is dangerous to tooth enamel. Citric acid can erode tooth enamel and expose the tooth to bacteria and tooth decay. Worn away tooth enamel also leads to tooth sensitivity. If you want to serve your child citrus fruits, make sure they rinse thoroughly with water afterward.

Keeping Your Child’s Smile Healthy and Happy

Parenting is hard enough. Harrisburg Pediatric Dentistry wants to remind you to practice moderation. Moderation of the foods above is important to proper overall nutrition and dental health. If you have any questions about what foods to avoid to help protect your child’s teeth, contact Harrisburg Pediatric Dentistry.

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