There’s no question that certain foods are worse for your teeth than others. Delicious treats like soda and citrus and even bread can damage your teeth over time, but none of those are likely to cause immediate, painful damage that would qualify as a dental emergency. Dr. Robert Walley and his staff treat people with chipped or cracked teeth all the time, and these emergency appointments often occur as a result of some food that unleashed unexpected mayhem.

Obviously, bread and soda and oranges aren’t the type of thing causing that immediate damage, but which foods create the biggest risk for dental emergencies? We have compiled a list of the most common culprits, not necessarily to steer clear of them, but to consume them carefully to hopefully avoid having to visit your emergency dentist in the first place.

#1 Hard Candy

Anybody who ever had braces knows that hard candies are off-limits because of the damage they can do to brackets, but they’re just as bad for your teeth. Yes, the sugar is bad for you long-term, but crunching down onto one of these sweets can chip or crack a tooth. Suck on these candies, and don’t crunch into them until absolutely necessary.

#2 Caramel

While caramel is anything but “hard,” it’s a candy that can cause some problems, too. The soft, chewy morsels seem harmless, but the candies can wedge themselves between your teeth and loosen any dental work or restorations you’ve had done. They’re probably not going to pull out a natural tooth, but pulling loose a crown can be just as painful and problematic.

#3 Popcorn

America’s favorite movie treat can leave shards from the husks in between teeth or even underneath your gums, which could cause a painful abscess that requires emergency treatment. Worse, a kernel that didn’t pop all the way is hard enough to crack a tooth, so chew slowly while enjoying your film.

#4 Almonds

Nuts are a great source of healthy protein, but almonds are the hardest nuts of the batch. Believe it or not, they cause a lot of chips and cracks in teeth. Eating sliced almonds are softer and easier to chew than full almonds, so consider consuming the same snack, but in a different way.

#5 Ice Cubes

While ice cubes are not technically a “food,” some people love chomping down on them as a guilt-free way to keep their mouths busy rather than eating salty or sugary snacks. From a practical standpoint, chewing ice is not that different from chewing on rocks, which means it can crack and break the enamel of teeth, leading to a dental emergency.

If one of these foods cracks or damages your tooth, it is important to contact your San Francisco dentist immediately to get yourself in for any necessary repairs. Remember, the sooner you get into see your emergency dentist, the better chance there is you’ll be able to save the tooth. The aforementioned foods and treats are delicious, but eat with caution! If any problems do arise, call Dr. Robert M. Walley right away so he can fix whatever went wrong.



When you are ready to take your smile to the next level, it may be time to take a look at your diet. The food and drinks that we consume affect our smiles—both in appearance and health. Our San Francisco dentists have put together this short overview of the ways in which popular foods and drinks affect your smile.

The first thing to keep in mind is that water is the number one most beneficial drink when it comes to oral health. When you drink water, you rinse away harmful plaque and dental debris, while simultaneously promotion saliva production.

  • Both coffee and tea are likely to stain dental enamel over time
  • Sodas and energy drinks are laden with sugar; because oral bacteria feed on sugars, and need them to grow, these types of beverages can wreak havoc on your smile
  • Fruit juices are often quite sugary as well, and they are also acidic. When your teeth are exposed to acid, the enamel becomes temporarily softened, and more vulnerable. Take special care not to brush your teeth for 20 to 30 minutes after acid exposure, so as not to inadvertently erode enamel.

There are also a number of foods that can contribute to discoloration and acid damage;

  • Sugary treats, and refined carbohydrates, give oral bacteria a boost
  • Deeply colored sauces can lead to dental staining
  • Chocolate is both sugary and discoloring
  • Citrus fruits are highly acidic, and thus weaken dental enamel for about 20 to 30 minutes directly following exposure

Protecting your smile only get easier as you gather more information about how dental damage develops in the first place. To learn more about the mechanics of dental health, please reach out to our San Francisco dentists. You can also schedule a personal consultation in order to get personalized recommendations. 

One day, you look in the mirror, and you just don’t recognize the teeth you see smiling back at you. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone; it is very common for adult patients to seek treatment with vague complaints that their smiles simply look older, and less healthy, than they used to.

That’s where our San Francisco dentists come in. We help our patients refresh and rejuvenate their smiles for optimal aesthetic results. Here are some of the commonly experienced dental problems that can make your smile look older than it really is:

  • Thin Dental Enamel

Enamel is the outermost layer of the tooth; it is designed to protect the more vulnerable inner tooth layers from irritants and infections. Over time, enamel can wear away due to chronic pressure, say, from dental grinding, or due to acid exposure. As enamel becomes thinner, it is more susceptible to cracking and chipping. Additionally, thin enamel allows the yellow dentin under it to show through, so the tooth as a whole starts to look duller and darker.

  • Dental Discoloration

Environmental stains can make your teeth look older and less healthy than they really are. Certain foods and drinks, like coffee, tea, red wine, red sauces, berries, and sodas all leave color deposits on the smile after repeated exposure. Tobacco products are perhaps the biggest culprits when it comes to environmental stains. Diligent daily dental care will help to minimize stains, but there are also professional treatments you can use to refresh your smile. Professional dental whitening formulations, dental bonding, and aesthetic veneers can all brighten the appearance of your smile.

Your smile should make you feel confident and happy; our San Francisco cosmetic dentists are here to help you achieve that smile. Reach out to our team by giving our office a call, or by using the Contact Us page on our site to submit a question for our dentist!

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