I bet your mom and dad warned you to brush your teeth or face the wrath of cavities. I also have a hunch they made you limit your candy, again in fear of the dreaded cavity. They were really hoping to limit unnecessary damage to your teeth.

Hopefully, you’ve grown up to realize that it’s not just candy that’s rotting your teeth. And while you’re now old enough to eat as much candy as your heart desires, you should still be thinking about how your eating habits affect your oral health. Let’s look into some of the lesser-known ways you might be hurting your teeth.

5 Things That Damage Your Teeth

Eating acidic foods

Sugar isn’t the only cavity-causing supervillain. Drinks like diet soda and fruit juice have a low–pH that can also weaken tooth enamel. Over time this makes tooth enamel thin and porous, which can lead to cavities. Besides becoming more susceptible to decay, teeth subjected to low-ph foods also are more likely to be sensitive to hot and cold.

You might be tempted to brush your teeth right after eating something very acidic. Don’t even think about it! Since acidic foods soften enamel, brushing after eating these foods can result in more enamel loss.

Instead, try drinking water. Water helps dilute the acid on your teeth, making it safer to brush. You should typically wait to brush your teeth until about an hour after eating acidic foods.

Chewing on hard surfaces

We all know someone that likes to chew on ice. People chew on all kinds of hard foods that can wear, crack and even break their teeth.Popcorn kernels and ice-cubes are two of the most common culprits.

Since we can’t grow new teeth or regenerate our old ones, we must be careful not to cause irreversible damage.

Taking in Too Much Fluoride

For more than fifty years, the ADA has been promoting fluoride as the most efficient cavity-preventing dental supplement. Although this fact is supported by evidence, too much fluoride can actually harm you.

Excess fluoride intake can cause a process known as fluorosis in children who still have adult teeth erupting. Fluorosis can cause teeth and sometimes bones to become excessively porous and weak. A common sign of fluorosis is the appearance of small, white spots on the enamel.

The most common way to allow a harmful amount of fluoride into the body is to ingest it by swallowing.

Not Sleeping

Skipping out on sleep is one of the worst things you can put your teeth and gums through. Some studies show that a steady 7 to 8 hours of sleep can help your mouth stay in good shape. In some studies, sleeping less than 7 hours per night increased the risk of periodontal disease by over 40%.