Brushing and flossing your teeth isn’t the only way you can keep your teeth healthy.
There are lots of ways to help keep your oral health up, most importantly, by being conscious of the things you eat and drink.
We all know that constant exposure to sugar can be harmful to our teeth, which is why dentists recommend you enjoy your sweet treats in moderation. But sugar isn’t the only thing that causes dental decay.
There are many other things you should watch out for that may harm your teeth including avoiding chewing ice and hard objects/foods, limiting soda intake, avoiding foods that dry your mouth out, and watching your citrus intake which may erode enamel.
You should also make sure to brush after drinking coffee to reducing staining in the long run.
10 Worst Foods for Your Teeth
We’re not saying you need to abandon these things, but you should limit your intake and remember to brush afterward to prevent dental staining or damage.
Soda/Sports Drinks/Energy Drinks
We all know that soda isn’t beneficial in any way to our overall health. But soda has a particularly bad reputation with teeth. Sugar is a primary culprit for encouraging bacterial growth, but even sugar-free soda is highly acidic, eroding teeth by breaking down their minerals. The same goes for sports drinks and energy drinks, both increasing the risk of cavities.
Alcohol tends to dry the mouth out, and is sometimes high in sugar, depending on the drink. Since saliva is a healthy part of oral functions to maintain and protect teeth from bacteria, a drier state encourages bacteria and cavities. Not to mention that a cocktail doubles down with both sugar and alcohol. Particularly with red wine, it may lead to staining, while with white wines, the acidity may make teeth more susceptible to stains, leaving them vulnerable to darker colored foods.
Coffee leaves difficult stains that are tough to remove, but coffee isn’t just bad for staining, it also erodes enamel due to its acidity. If you add sugar to your coffee, this also worsens the effect on your teeth. An easy way to reduce these effects is to rinse with water or even brush your teeth after having your morning cup.
Sugar is one of the bacteria’s favorite snacks, which is why candy is one of the worst things for your teeth. Most notably, sticky, hard, and sour candies are among the worst for your teeth.
Pickles are created by using vinegar, which may be harmful to your teeth. Studies have shown that vinegar plays a part in eroding tooth enamel. However, all you need to do to reduce the acidity is to have some water with your snack or meal that contains vinegar.
This one isn’t a food, in its liquid form is excellent for the whole body. However, chewing on ice can weaken, chip, and even crack teeth. Also, the extra cold temperature against your teeth can be weakening and even painful if you have sensitive teeth. You don’t need to avoid ice, just don’t chew on it.
Potato chips are crunchy at first, then turn in texture to soft and gummy after chewing. This means that they will linger in the mouth longer, potentially leading to more bacteria in the mouth, particularly acid-producing bacteria. Also, since most people tend to snack on chips throughout the day, they have longer to stay in the mouth and encourage bacteria.
If you’ve ever had popcorn, you’re probably had it stuck between your teeth. The popcorn can get stuck between your teeth, which can hurt your gums. Also, if you decide to chew on unpopped kernels, they may cause damage to your enamel.
Dried fruit is usually known as a healthier alternative to candy, but it may be just as bad for your teeth. Dried fruit is usually high on sugar, and often have sticky, dense textures that are difficult to choose, and stick to your teeth.
Refined carbohydrates tend to be less healthy than some other alternatives. Refined carbs like white bread tend to dissolve quickly in the mouth, causing high levels of sugar and acidity in the mouth, giving bacteria lots to feed on. Also, white bread tends to be gummy and gets stuck between the teeth.
Instead of talking about the things we shouldn’t do, let’s go over the things you should be doing to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
Brushing and flossing are the best things you can do, but what else can help? Eating the right foods can not only keep your teeth healthy but also keep them white too. Strong, healthy teeth are just a snack away!
Let’s start by going over what things to look when choosing good foods for teeth that will benefit your teeth and gums. Just like any other part of your body, they need key nutrients to function and stay in shape.
Look for foods rich in calcium
We all know that milk is good for our bones because it’s high in calcium. But what makes calcium such a great mineral dental health? Well, both teeth and bones are primarily made up of calcium, which means supplementing it into our diet improves their health.
Tooth enamel is made up of all minerals, which is also why you should limit sugar and acid intake that may erode these minerals. Putting these minerals, such as Calcium, back into our bodies helps to replenish the minerals we may lose.
Find phosphorus foods
Just like calcium, both bones and teeth contain a lot of phosphorus. Phosphorus is another compound that is an important part of the composition of teeth. You should look for phosphorus rich foods in order to replenish and fortify your teeth.
Opt for crunchy snacks that are high in water
Crunchy foods that are high in water are good for your teeth in two ways. First, chewing produces saliva, which is the best neutralizer for bacteria, preventing cavities. Also, the texture matters too.
Crunchy foods are naturally abrasive, gently removing plaque. However, as far as crunchy foods go, you should opt for fruits and vegetables because crisps and crackers don’t have the same positive effect on your teeth.
Search for foods rich in arginine, polyphenols, and anthocyanins
Some lesser-known plaque and bacteria fighters are foods with arginine, polyphenols, and anthocyanins.
These compounds haven’t had the attention of researchers until more recently, but arginine may help prevent cavities and reduce plaque formation, polyphenols may slow the growth of bacterias in the mouth that cause gum disease, bad breath, and cavities, and anthocyanins may prevent plaque from attaching to the teeth and fight oral cancer.
Pick foods that are high in vitamin C & D
Both vitamins C & D are excellent for overall health. Vitamin D actually makes it easier for your body to process and absorb calcium much better, improving your dental health.
Calcium is also a great dental helper, as the vitamin reduces inflammation and strengthens blood vessels, helping your gums stay healthy. In fact, a lack of vitamin C may lead to increased sensitivity and make gums more susceptible to periodontal disease.
Choose antioxidizing foods
Antioxidants are full of surprising health benefits for the body. They are even great for your teeth, because they protect gums and tissues from cell damage and infection, while also fighting bacterias that cause inflammation and periodontal disease.
Look for foods containing probiotics
There are good bacteria and bad bacteria for your teeth. Probiotics are good bacteria for both digestive and oral health. Some research has begun to suggest that probiotics may promote gum health and reduce plaque formation.
A few other things to look for including:
Zinc- Good for immune functions and promoting muscle and connective tissue growth and functions.
Protein- Excellent for tooth structure maintenance, strengthening oral functions and promoting connective tissue health.
Folate- Low levels of folate are associated with periodontal disease, so supplementing your diet with extra folate may be beneficial. Also, promotes connective tissue function.
Vitamin A- Vitamin A is great for oral health. However, keep in mind that too many vitamins can result in some gums issues.
Iron- Iron is excellent for immune function. Since there tends to be a lot of bacteria in the mouth, and fatty tissues in the cheeks are prone to tearing and scratching, immune function is important in fighting bacteria.
B Vitamins- B Vitamins are important for epithelial cell turnover. Rapid cell turnover aids in the better maintenance of the mouth, and the whole body.
Omega-3 Fats- Most importantly, Omega-3 fats help to modulate inflammatory responses, controlling them and reducing inflammation, particularly in the gums. This can help with periodontitis and gum problems.
We’d also like to highlight a short list of good foods for teeth that whiten teeth naturally, helping to remove and prevent staining, keeping your teeth sparkling white.
5 Foods that whiten your teeth naturally
- Baking Soda
Apples are excellent for whitening teeth because they act as a natural, gentle abrasive agent when you eat them, removing plaque and whitening teeth in the process. However, harder fruits like apples can lead to cracked and chipped teeth. To avoid this, especially if you have sensitive, soft, or weak teeth, you should cut your apples up into slices for softer, more manageable pieces. Organic applesauce is also an excellent source of apples and important vitamins.
Onions aren’t ideal for your breath, but the sulfuric compounds that cause bad breath are actually good for whitening your teeth. However, this benefit is only present in raw onions.
You can regularly switch out your toothpaste for baking soda, as it is a natural bleaching agent that won’t damage your teeth. The “soda” or salt in the baking soda scrubs away plaque and surface stains.
While it may not be everyone’s favorite, broccoli is a fiber-rich, natural scrubbing agent for your teeth. You can snack on some for a midday brush. Make sure the broccoli is uncooked because it is firmer and provides more benefits.
Strawberries are chocked full of Malic acid, which acts as an astringent to help remove surface stains and prevent future ones. Raw strawberries are best, and you can even mash one up and use it on your toothbrush. Try to opt for organic strawberries.
Top 20 Best Foods for Healthy Teeth
Milk is excellent for your teeth because it washes away food particles and fortifies your teeth by reintroducing calcium into the body that you may have lost in your day-to-day activities, including eating. Milk is also a base, which lowers the acidity in your mouth and helps to prevent tooth decay.
Calcium can also protect your teeth from Periodontitis and keep your jawbones healthy, which are important for proper chewing for digestion. Women are also statistically more likely to get Periodontitis if they do not consume enough calcium, but it’s important for everyone of all ages to make sure they get enough calcium in their diet.
Leafy greens are an integral part of a healthy diet. They are high in fiber, water, and vitamins while remaining low in calories. Spinach and kale, in particular, are excellent for oral health. They’re both high in calcium, an important part of the composition of teeth and bones, promoting enamel strength.
Both are also high in folic acid, which may help prevent gum disease in pregnant women. If you don’t enjoy eating greens by themselves, you have easily incorporated them into smoothies, on pizzas, and into many of your favorite recipes such as pasta like lasagna and linguine.
Lots of people love cheese, and just like milk, it’s high in calcium. Calcium is one of the foundations for healthy teeth and bones. Good news for cheese lovers, because there are many more benefits than just calcium. Eating cheese can improve your oral health in many ways, including neutralizing acid levels in the mouth and increasing saliva production, which helps to wash away bacteria and plaque.
However, an important thing to remember is that aged cheeses provide the most benefits to the body including cheddar, parmesan, gouda, swiss, blue, brie, and gruyere.
Protein is important to promote all kinds of healthy bodily functions. Protein from any source is good, but red meat is especially beneficial. Protein encourages the growth and strengthening of connective tissues, improved blood flow, and better immune function, which means healthier teeth and gums.
Also, red meat offers a good dose of iron, which is important for blood health and strong muscle development. You should also opt for organic meat whenever you can to limit the chemicals entering your body.
Wild salmon is an excellent source of vitamin D, which makes it easier for your body to process and absorb calcium from the foods you eat, improving your dental health. Not only that but fish, in general, are chock full of omega-3 fats. These fats help to modulate inflammatory response, protecting and improving gum health.
Connective tissues and your immune system also benefit from the vitamins and fats fish, in general, bring to the table. You should choose wild salmon over farmed salmon whenever you can, since eating wild salmon presents more benefits and fewer risks than consuming farmed salmon.
Black and Green Tea
Unlike coffee, black and green teas won’t stain your teeth and you’ll still get your caffeine! Teas are rich in fluoride, which is also a necessity for healthy teeth as fluoride strengthens and fortifies enamel. Drinking black and green teas have many overall health benefits. For your teeth, polyphenols have been found in both. Polyphenols have been known to reduce bacteria and products of bacteria in the mouth.
Green tea in particular also serves antioxidizing purposes, protecting gums from damage and disease. However, you should aim to take your tea without sweeteners such as sugar or even honey, as both of those additives are not beneficial to your teeth.
Onions are a great source of many vitamins and minerals. Onions actually have very prevalent antibacterial functions and properties, especially when it comes to fighting bacterias that cause gum disease and cavities.
You also might want to brush after eating onions, as they tend to cause bad breath. However, for onions to be beneficial to your body in this way, it must be eaten raw instead of cooked or steamed. You can easily incorporate raw onions into your diet by adding them to your salad.
Nuts and Seeds
Where do we begin? Nuts and seeds are often classed as superfoods, containing things like high protein, vitamins, and often containing calcium and phosphorous. While high protein food encourages muscle and connective tissue growth and repair, calcium and phosphorous are what teeth are composed of, helping to replenish lost vitamins and minerals.
In particular, cashew oil has been shown to have microbe-fighting properties against bacterias that lead to cavities and tooth decay. Almonds are particularly calcium-rich too and sesame seeds are known to scrub away plaque while you chew them.
Surprise! Gum is one candy you don’t need to cut back on, as long as it’s sugarless. This is great for all of the avid gum chewers out there. Gum helps the teeth and gums stay healthy simply by encouraging saliva production. When you chew, your mouth produces saliva which naturally neutralizes bacteria and helps to wash away food particles.
Gum may also help to strengthen jaw muscles, which aid is better chewing and food digestion. Not to mention that chewing gum increases blood flow to the mouth, improving immunity and allowing for healthier oral tissues.
Yogurt is known for aiding in digestive health, but did you know it can help to improve oral health too? It’s true. Yogurt is a popular dairy product, meaning it is packed with calcium and calcium fortifies and improves enamel strength and health. But yogurt has a lot more to offer, as it is also a probiotic-rich food.
Celery is an excellent abrasive agent for helping to brush away plaque from gums and teeth. With lots of water, celery is excellent for helping to wash away food particles and plaque. However, that’s not the only way celery is good for teeth.
Since it’s stringy, the strands of the plant can work their way in between teeth, acting as a natural flossing agent. Celery is also high in vitamins A and C, making the vegetable great on gums.
Ginger gives you a bit of pep in your step, with a fresh taste and lots of vitamins. However, ginger works to kill bacteria in the mouth, too. Ginger will also help you to fight bad breath, which is caused by bacteria. A natural odor neutralizer and a good bacteria fighter, ginger is a great choice incorporated into teas, drinks, dinners, and snacks.
Ginger is also best when it’s eaten raw, as it provides the most benefits that way. Make sure to peel the ginger before using.
Just like tea, cranberries are rich in polyphenols. Polyphenols keep plaque at bay, prevent plaque formation, and reduce bacteria, lowering your risk for gum disease and cavities.
Not only that but cranberries are packed full of nutrients. But, in order to gain dental benefits from cranberries, they need to be eaten fresh. They make a nice addition to smoothies and salads for a pop of flavor.
Garlic is excellent, multi-purpose food. It provides a great, strong flavor in all kinds of dishes. It’s also great for protecting teeth.
Garlic has antimicrobial properties. This means that garlic has properties that help to tooth decay. Antimicrobial agents take action by killing or inhibiting the growth of microorganisms, including bacteria that cause tooth decay.
Garlic will also inhibit these kinds of bacterias from growing or reproducing, allowing you to better fight all conditions, most notably periodontal disease.
Carrots aren’t just for rabbits, but maybe it’s why they have such good teeth. Carrots are full of vitamins and minerals, including being a great source of vitamin A. Not only that but eating raw carrots helps to increase saliva production. Increased saliva production helps to wash away particles and neutralize bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease.
Carrots can also act as a natural toothbrush. When you snack on a carrot, they are gently abrasive and can help to scrub away plaque of the surface of teeth. If you have extra sensitive teeth, you can even cut the carrots up into smaller pieces, or opt for softer, smaller baby carrots.
Unlike many raw fruits that are acidic, pears are excellent at neutralizing acids. As we know, acids can damage teeth, when exposed to them often without regular rinsing or brushing. Pears can act as a great agent to neutralize acids in the mouth, protecting the teeth. In fact, pears will reduce the acidity of plaque, too.
Pears are also a softer fruit, making them easy to chew and being gentle on the teeth. They have a high water content, which helps to dilute sugars.
Eating whole grains like bread, pasta, brown rice etc. can help lower your chances of gum disease. Whole grains have B vitamins, vitamin C, and lots of calcium, all of which are important for maintaining oral health.
Calcium is very important, as it is one of the main components that make up tooth enamel, so whole grains help to balance out calcium loss and strengthen teeth. One of the best sources of whole grains is found in oatmeal, great for starting the day.
Kiwi fruit has one of the highest concentrations of vitamin C, almost twice that found in an orange! Vitamin C is important for teeth because it helps to maintain collagen, strengthen periodontal ligaments, and maintain your immune system functions, especially important for bacteria fighting in the mouth.
However, keep in mind that raw kiwis tend to be acidic, like many fruits, so you should rinse your mouth out after eating one, or having a drink of water with your snack or meal containing kiwi. Kiwis are also soft, which is gentle on your teeth and digestive system.
Wasabi is often an element in East Asian cuisine. Made from a green-brown root, mashed and served. The final product is a light green paste. It is pungent and spicy and serves many health benefits. Wasabi is anti-bacterial effects and anti-inflammatory properties.
Wasabi has been shown to fight bacteria that cause plaque and tooth decay. Also, wasabi has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help with gum diseases like Periodontitis and other gum diseases.
The human body is just over 70% water. It makes sense that water would be one of the best things for your body. Water is particularly important for oral and dental health for a few reasons.
Water will help to keep your mouth clean. Which is why it’s recommended you use water to rinse and neutralize after eating sugary or acidic foods. Water can help to wash away bacteria, plaque, and food particles, cleaning your mouth naturally.
Speaking of keeping a clean mouth, water also helps to support saliva production, which also helps to neutralize and wash away bacteria and acids. Water also fights dry mouth.
Also, water helps to strengthen teeth. Drinking water often has fluoride, which is a natural cavity-fighting agent. It is actually one of the best and easiest things you can do to help strengthen your teeth and fight cavities, by drinking water with small amounts of fluoride.
Healthy Smile Smoothie Recipe
To help you incorporate some of these good foods for teeth into your diet here is a smoothie recipe you can start or even finish your day with. The benefits of this smoothie include lots of calcium, vitamin A, natural antibacterial agents, anti-inflammatory agents, polyphenols, Vitamin C, and natural odor neutralizers! This smoothie is zesty, tasty, and has a subtle spicy element.
If you have a favorite healthy food you’d like to incorporate, you’re welcome to add it! Experimenting with smoothie combinations that work for you is fun and easy!
● ½ cup of low-fat vanilla yogurt
● ½ cup of cold brewed green tea
● ½ cup of chopped organic spinach
● 2 ripe kiwis (peeled)
● 1 ripe, frozen banana
● 1 tbsp lime juice
● ½ tbsp of grated, raw ginger
● ¼ tbsp of wasabi (small pinch)
1. Prepare your ingredients and blender- Make sure to correctly measure your ingredients. Also, you should ensure that all of your produce, especially your spinach, is well washed before using. Tip: If you don’t have a powerful blender, you should make sure to cut your banana into smaller slices and thaw slightly before blending. You can also use a food processor instead of a blender.
2. Combine your ingredients- Start with the wet ingredients, being the vanilla yogurt and green tea, and lime juice incorporating them into the blender. Next, add the chopped spinach, ginger, banana, kiwis, and wasabi.
3. Blend the ingredients well- You can use the “pulse” setting on your blender to help smooth the mixture. Or, if you can stop and gently tap the container on your counter, then continue blending. You may do the same with a food processor.
4. Serve your smoothie- Pour the mixture into a tall glass or a travel cup.
5. Enjoy!- You can enjoy your smoothie at home or on the go.
There are lots of other ways you can incorporate any combination of these good foods for teeth into your diet. It’s important to always maintain oral hygiene by brushing and flossing twice a day. You can also promote health through the foods you choose to eat. Also make sure to rinse after eating acidic food, sugary food, coffee, or wine.