8 Foods to Avoid With Sensitive Teeth

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Sarah Handzel, BSN, RN on July 16, 2021
  • Young African American woman holding cheek or jaw in pain
    Tooth sensitivity Is a common problem.
    According to a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 20 – 30 % of American adults have problems with tooth sensitivity and pain. Tooth sensitivity can result from two things in the foods and drinks we consume: acid and sugar. These two factors work to wear away your enamel, the protective coating covering your teeth. If you already have sensitive teeth, be sure to avoid common troublesome foods, and ask your dentist about your problem if it gets worse.
  • Soda pop
    1. Soda
    Soda is loaded with sugar, which serves as a food source for certain harmful bacteria in your mouth. After eating sugar, bacteria in your mouth produce lactic acid that attacks your teeth, wears away your protective tooth enamel, and makes you more likely to develop cavities. Phosphoric acid in soda also erodes your tooth enamel without any help from bacteria. Your teeth are less protected against bacteria and cavities, leading to an increase sensitivity and causing pain and discomfort.
  • glass of orange juice on wooden table
    2. Citrus fruits and fruit juices
    They’re a delicious source of essential vitamins, but citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruit are all big sources of citric acid. When scientists tested tooth enamel against citric acid, they found the acid caused softening and erosion of the enamel. This can lead to increased tooth sensitivity. Orange juice has between 9.1 and 16.9 grams of citric acid per liter – with so much acid in citrus fruits and juices, it’s best to avoid them.
  • pickle-jar
    3. Pickles
    They’re low calorie and delicious, making them a popular snack…but pickles are very high in acid content due to vinegar they’re pickled in. Like with other foods containing acids, pickles can increase tooth sensitivity by eroding the minerals that make up your tooth enamel. Over time, this erosion leads to sensitivity and can cause faster tooth tissue loss. Pickles are also usually made with sugar, which can lead to the development of cavities and cause more sensitivity and pain.
  • colorful sour gummy candies
    4. Hard Sour Candy
    While regular candy is loaded with sugar, making frequent consumption a factor in developing cavities, hard, sour candies are a less well known problem for people with sensitive teeth. Sour candy manufacturers add more and different types of dietary acids to their products compared to the original versions of the candy, including citric acid. In some studies, researchers found the enamel on tooth surfaces was worn away more after exposure to sour candies compared to original candies.
  • homemade-ice-cream-in-bowl
    5. Ice Cream
    It’s common for people to have cold-sensitive teeth, and many people with sensitive teeth have problems eating ice cream. The sensitivity can be caused by a variety of problems, including tooth decay, loose dental fillings, trauma to your face or jaw, or even by slight gum recession that can expose a small portion of the root of your tooth. Avoid extremely cold foods like ice cream, and if this type of pain persists, schedule a visit with your dentist.
  • glasses of red and white wine on table
    6. Wine
    As much as we might enjoy it, drinking wine frequently or in large quantities exposes your teeth to large amounts of acids. The acidity of wine helps to give it it’s tart, sour taste, and white wines typically have more acid content than red wines. But be sure to sip red wine in moderation too – just like white wines, the acid in red wine can also wear down your tooth enamel and make your teeth more sensitive.
  • dried-apricots
    7. Dried Fruit
    Dried fruits are sticky and loaded with sugar. Due to the stickiness of the fruit, the sugar from the fruit stays on and between your teeth longer after eating. Bacteria are exposed to sugar, their food source, for longer periods of time, leading to more dental enamel erosion and a higher likelihood of developing cavities. The erosion of enamel, plus more or worsened cavities, can make your already sensitive teeth feel much more painful.
  • sliced-white-bread
    8. Soft, White Breads and Rolls
    Simple, refined carbohydrates like those found in white breads and rolls are broken down into simple sugar after you eat them. The softness of the bread means it’s more likely to stick in the cracks and crevices between your teeth, staying there longer and allowing bacteria to feed on the sugar. Once the bacteria eat the sugar, lactic acid is created which wears away the tooth enamel on your already sensitive teeth.
8 Foods to Avoid With Sensitive Teeth

About The Author

Sarah Handzel, BSN, RN began writing professionally in 2016. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and worked as a registered nurse in multiple specialties, including pharmaceuticals, operating room/surgery, endocrinology, and family practice. With over nine years of clinical practice experience, Sarah has worked with clients including Healthgrades, Mayo Clinic, Aha Media Group, Wolters Kluwer, and UVA Cancer Center.
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Last Review Date: 2021 Jul 16
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.