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Best and Worst Foods for Your Teeth

A guide to the foods that stain and erode teeth—and those that can prevent or reverse the damage.

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Acid (typically provided by vinegar) is essential to the pickling process. It's what gives pickles their sour, salty taste—and it's also what makes them a potential hazard to tooth enamel. In one 2004 study that looked at the eating habits of English teenagers, pickles were the solid food most closely linked with tooth wear. Eating them more than once a day increased the odds of wear by about 85%.

Most of us don't eat pickles that often, however, and snacking on them every now and then isn't likely to noticeably affect your dental health, Messina says.

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