The main cause of cavities, which are basically holes in the teeth, is the acid that sits on the teeth and wears away enamel over time. Foods, from sugary sweets to starchy carbs, dissolve into sugars. Bacteria in the mouth turn the sugars into acids that dissolve minerals in the tooth enamel. To keep your teeth strong and your enamel intact, reduce your intake of these foods, or, after you eat them, be sure to brush your teeth and rinse with LISTERINE® mouthwash.

#1 Hard Candies

As you might guess, sugary, rock-hard candies you suck on for a long time, or break down into pieces with your teeth, put a serious dent in enamel and endanger the health of your mouth. Candies are loaded with sugar that sticks to the teeth and takes a long time to dissolve, exposing the gums and teeth to the damaging sugar.

#2 Acidic Drinks

Juice, sports drinks and all sodas (including diet) are packed with sugar and acid, which is bad news for your teeth. If you want to drink something other than water, look for brands that have no added sugars or try adding a bit of fruit or vegetable, such as watermelon or cucumber, to plain old water to get refreshing flavor that’s less damaging. Also consider diluting juice with water to make it less harmful to your teeth.

#3 Cake

This treat, or any other sweet that is made with a lot of sugar, is problematic for your teeth. Sticky sweets are the worst teeth offenders, and even dried fruit, such as dried apricots, can be a nuisance to tooth enamel. Foods that easily adhere to teeth and get jammed between the gum and the tooth allow sugars to attack enamel and are hard to wash away. Limit your sweets intake. When you do indulge, minimize the damage by brushing your teeth afterwards. Also remember to rinse twice daily with LISTERINE® mouthwash.

#4 Pasta

Starchy foods, such as pasta, rice and potatoes, may harm the teeth because they metabolize into sugars that are used by bacteria produce acid that wears away tooth enamel.

#5 Ice

Chewing on ice and other hard substances can potentially crack your enamel, exposing your teeth. Other harmful habits involving your mouth, like opening bottles and bags of chips with your teeth, should also be avoided.

#6 Hard Nuts

In addition to possibly cracking your enamel, chewing on hard nuts can also damage dental implants, dentures and braces. Try eating smaller nut pieces instead of whole nuts if the nuts are particularly hard, or eat nuts ground up in butters and spreads, such as in cashew butter.