Nutrition and Your Oral Health

What fruit is like a bullet-proof vest for your teeth? The answer may surprise you.


Throughout your life, the foundation of good oral health is a nutritious diet—think fewer cookies and more water and fiber. And the bonus? Many of the healthy foods doctors recommend for a healthy body also benefit your teeth and gums.

Great foods for a healthy mouth

  • Dairy—Provides calcium and vitamin D for strengthening teeth and bones.
  • Grains—Packed with B vitamins for growth and iron, which promotes healthy gum tissue.
  • Fruits and vegetables—Contain vitamin C and other vital nutrients to maintain healthy gums.
  • Lean meats—Fish and poultry boost iron and protein for overall good health, along with magnesium and zinc for strong teeth and bones.


7 great eating habits for healthy teeth

  1. Don’t snack between meals—Constant eating (especially sugars) exposes your teeth to acids that wear down their protective enamel.
  2. Don’t sip soft drinks—When you nurse that soda, sugars and acids keep washing over your teeth and wear away enamel. To minimize damage, drink soft drinks with a straw positioned toward the back of the mouth. Follow with a rinse of water.
  3. Don’t chew ice—Your teeth are made to last a lifetime, but they were designed chewing food. Chewing ice can cause fractures, cracks and chips, and make your teeth more sensitive to pain. Not to mention the damage you can cause to dental work.
  4. Avoid sticky foods—Sticky foods coat every little crevice in your teeth. They’re hard to remove and can loosen your dental work. Be sure to brush and rinse after you indulge.
  5. Only eat sugary treats with meals—When you eat a meal, extra saliva is produced in your mouth. This saliva helps break down the harmful acids that attack tooth enamel and helps rinse away destructive sugars.
  6. Eat aged cheese—The calcium in aged cheddar, parmesan and Swiss may help protect tooth enamel from decay by increasing saliva.
  7. Drink water all day, everyday—Water is a great alternative to sugary drinks and rinses away sugar.

Did you know...

Cranberries are natural cavity-fighters. They prevent bacteria from sticking to your teeth and stop plaque from forming. Sweet!



Smoking, nutrition and dental health

Smoking destroys tooth enamel and gum tissue. And that makes your mouth more vulnerable to bacteria. So smokers generally need more vitamin C to help prevent disease and protect the body from substances that may damage cells.

If you want to quit, your doctor can help you find a smoking cessation program that fits your lifestyle.


Get more expert oral health advice:

Why calcium is the backbone of strong teeth

Are you getting enough fluoride to protect your teeth?

Why soft drinks are so hard on your teeth

Crrrrrunch! How chewing ice can lead to a big, cold dental bill

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