Foods that Promote Healthy Teeth and Gums

various dairy products on wooden table

A diet that includes foods that could be good for teeth and gums can make a big difference in your periodontal health. So, when you’re choosing your next meal, snack, or drink, try one of these options: it could do wonders for the health of your teeth and gums.

Healthy Switch-Ups For Gums And Teeth

Some foods that contribute to tooth and gum health are high in calcium, a naturally-occurring mineral that is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth.3 Usually found in dairy products, it is one of the easiest and most direct ways to build a foundation of healthy gums and teeth.1

In addition to health benefits that aid in digestion and blood sugar, fiber-rich foods can also keep your teeth and gums healthy by keeping saliva flowing, which naturally cleans your mouth.1 Whole-grain foods such as bread, oats and brown rice are high in fibers. Other high-fiber foods include lentils, black beans and edamame.11

Lastly, fluoride is a key component to tooth health, as it both strengthens tooth enamel and also prevents the formation of cavities.4 While it can be added to tap water, it can also be a component in poultry products, seafood and cereals.1

Dairy products against white wooden background

Try this: Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese

Foods that are high in calcium are great for teeth and gums. Calcium is vital for maintaining the bone that supports the roots of your teeth, as well as the hardened surface of your teeth (known as enamel) which can wear away from daily eating and chewing.3

Instead of: Soft Candies, Toffees, Taffies, and Pastries

Sticky sweets are some of the worst foods for your teeth and gums, because they can “stick” on tooth enamel for a long time and cause damage.1 By getting into the recesses of your teeth, sticky sweets can be hard to remove through regular toothbrushing, increasing the chances of forming cavities. Additionally, these kinds of sweet tend to be high in sugar, which can affect the development of cavities if eaten frequently.3

Oranges and orange juice on outdoors table

Try this: Orange Juice

The vitamin C in orange juice is essential for maintaining healthy gums and plays a role in the prevention of cavities.5 Vitamin C helps produce collagen, which provides structure and support for teeth; it also assists with mineralization and depositing calcium.5 Vitamin C can also prevent bleeding gums and gum disease. However, citrus fruits are high in acid and sugar, which can erode enamel and lead to cavities, so try to limit yourself to just one glass of orange juice at a time.5

Instead of: Soda

The sugar in carbonated soft drinks produces acids that attack and erode your enamel.1 In addition, bacteria on your teeth feeds on the sugary content of soft drinks, leading to health issues like plaque on your tooth surfaces and gingivitis on your gums.1,2

Bread slices with spoons of seeds on dark wooden background

Try this: Whole-Grain Breads and Cereals

Enriched whole-grain breads and cereals are rich in B vitamins and iron.6 Vitamin B12, for example, may help prevent tooth decay.7 Iron contributes to maintaining healthy gum tissue carrying oxygen in the blood.6

Instead of: Potato Chips

Potato chips are filled with starch that can get trapped in your teeth, which are then converted by bacteria to sugar.1 This can lead to a buildup of plaque — a cause of gum disease and tooth decay.

Grilled salmon steak with lemon and herbs on dinner plate

Try this: Salmon

A grilled salmon filet is an easy and delicious weeknight dinner. It can also benefit your teeth: salmon is high in both phosphorus and omega-3 fatty acids, which the body needs to avoid periodontal disease.8,9 They also strengthen healthy gums, which keep your teeth firmly rooted in place.8,9

Instead of: Fried fish

Most fried fish is made of whitefish like haddock and cod, which contain less phosphorus and omega-3 fatty acids compared to salmon.10 Furthermore, the deep-fried breading is full oil and grease, which can create a sticky film on the surface of your teeth that accumulates bacteria.1

Diet and nutrition can have an effect on the health of the tissues within your mouth, and the health if your mouth will affect what you’re able to eat.3 Ultimately, your dietary choices are up to you, but you should review and discuss these suggestions with a medical and dental professional to ensure that these recommendations fit your own health needs. No matter what you choose to eat or avoid, make sure you’re brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes with a soft-bristled toothbrush.2 Try parodontax Active Gum Repair Fresh Mint toothpaste to help reverse signs of gum damage.

Source Citations:

  1. The Best and Worst Foods for Your Teeth. University of Rochester Medical Center. Univ. of Rochester Medical Center. Accessed 9/18/2023.
  2. Oral health: A window to your overall health. Mayo Clinic. Accessed 6/13/2023.
  3. Nutrition and Oral Health. American Dental Association. Accessed 6/13/2023.
  4. Fluoride. Harvard School of Public Health. Accessed 6/13/2023.
  5. Beneficial Effects of Vitamin C in Maintaining Optimal Oral Health. National Library of Medicine. Accessed 9/18/23.
  6. Grains. MyPlate: US Dept. of Agriculture. Accessed 9/18/23.
  7. Assessment of B12 and its Correlation with Dental Caries and Gingival Diseases in 10- to 14-year old Children: A Cross-sectional study. National Library of Medicine. Accessed 9/18/23.
  8. Effect of high phosphorus diet on tooth microstructure of rodent incisors. National Library of Medicine. Accessed 9/18/23.
  9. Omega 3 fatty acids and periodontitis in US Adults. National Library of Medicine. Accessed 9/18/23.
  10. Whats the difference between cod and salmon? American Oceans. Accessed 9/19/23.
  11. High-fiber foods. MedlinePlus. Accessed 11/14/23.

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