10 Foods That Are Good for Your Teeth

Medically Reviewed by a
Licensed DDS

Table of Contents

  1. Healthy Foods
  2. Healthy Food Groups
  3. Foods to Avoid
  4. Diet and Oral Health
  5. References

Foods that are good for your teeth are low in sugar and high in nutrients. Essentially, food that is good for your body is also good for your teeth.

Fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber, nutrients, and minerals are excellent for your dental health. Add healthy amounts of dairy and fish to your diet as well to ensure that you are getting enough calcium and antioxidants to fight tooth decay and strengthen tooth enamel.

As you add tooth-friendly foods to your diet, be sure to avoid substances that lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

Choose water and unsweetened teas and coffee over sugary drinks, and stay away from hard candies and highly processed foods. If you have a sweet tooth, dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cacao can help to build tooth strength.

Always remember to drink plenty of water to keep the mouth clean and free of harmful bacteria.

Foods for Good Teeth

We all know that avoiding sugary foods and drinks is good for our physical health, but did you know that it is also important to avoid these foods in order to prevent tooth decay and gum disease? What you eat directly impacts your teeth, explains the American Dental Association (ADA).

Your mouth is the first point of contact for all nutrients — good and bad — that enter your body. Signs of poor nutrition usually appear in your mouth before they show anywhere else.

We’ve outlined 10 foods that support dental health:

Yogurt
This food is a great for tooth health because of the calcium and protein it provides. Additionally, most yogurt contains probiotics that help to fight bad bacteria in the mouth that can lead to cavities. When selecting yogurt, stay away from sweetened varieties, as the sugar will harm your teeth.
Leafy Greens
In addition to supporting overall health, leafy greens do a lot to protect your teeth. They are packed full of vitamins and minerals, including calcium and folic acid, all of which help to strengthen tooth enamel and fight gum disease.
Apples
Fruits are part of any healthy diet, but apples in particular support oral health. They are high in fiber and water, which help to rinse away bacteria and food particles in the mouth. The apple’s fibers also help to stimulate your gums, which fights gum disease.
Carrots
Similar to apples, carrots are high in fiber and help to produce saliva, but they have less sugar than apples. The saliva produced from chewing carrots helps to reduce the risk of cavities. Carrots are also high in vitamin A, which supports healthy, strong teeth.
Celery
This food is high in water and can help to eliminate bacteria and food particles from your teeth. Munching on some celery after a meal can act as a teeth cleaning between regular brushing sessions. Celery is also high in the antioxidants vitamin A and C, which are important for gum health.
Almonds
Low in sugar, almonds provide a great source of calcium and protein. They are an excellent healthy snack option or addition to any meal, and they help to make your teeth stronger.
Cheese
Like yogurt, cheese is considered good for your teeth because it is high in protein and calcium, and it can raise the pH level in your mouth. The chewing required when eating cheese produces saliva, which helps rinse out the mouth.
Fish
This is a great addition to your diet as a source of lean protein as well as vitamin D. The vitamin D in fatty fish, such as salmon, helps your body absorb calcium. Together, vitamin D and calcium can fight disease in your mouth.
Green Tea and Black Tea
Both green tea and black tea contain polyphenols, which help to fight off bacteria that lead to plaque buildup in your mouth. Green and black tea also help to suppress bacteria that produce acid. This is important since acid can destroy tooth enamel.
Chocolate
If chocolate is at least 70 percent cacao and eaten in moderation, it can actually help to strengthen your tooth enamel and reduce your chances of tooth decay. The cacao bean contains a compound that helps to protect the teeth. Opting for dark chocolate that is high in cacao and low in sugar is the way to go.

Food Groups That Support Healthy Teeth

In addition to specific foods that are good for your teeth, there are certain food groups that are known to support oral health. Consuming nutrients that feed the good bacteria in your mouth and protect tooth enamel against decay is essential, explains the University of Rochester Medical Center.

These foods fight plaque buildup and tooth decay:

  • Fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables that are rich in fiber act as natural toothbrushes. They clean the teeth as well as produce saliva that rinses away bad bacteria. Your saliva also contains traces of calcium and phosphate, which bring minerals to the teeth.
  • Dairy products: In addition to yogurt and cheese, many other dairy products contain calcium and phosphate. These nutrients restore minerals to your teeth and rebuild tooth enamel.
  • Foods with fluoride: Any product made with fluorinated water, such as juices, soups, cereals, and poultry products are good sources of fluoride. Water with fluoride is a strong protector against tooth decay.

Together with proper dental hygiene, regularly including foods from the above categories supports a healthy mouth. The goal is to reduce the amount of sugars, starches, and bacteria that sit in your mouth. Consume foods and drinks that help to rinse away bad bacteria and enhance the overall health of your teeth.

Consuming foods that are high in nutrients, calcium, phosphorous, and proteins helps to protect and rebuild tooth enamel, which is essential for healthy teeth.

Foods to Avoid

Now that you know which foods to focus on to promote healthy teeth, it is worth mentioning what to avoid. In general, foods that are low in nutritional value and high in sugar are harmful to your physical, mental, and oral health.

The following foods and drinks can harm your dental health, according to the ADA:

  • Hard or sticky candies
  • Cookies, cakes, and muffins
  • Chips
  • Soda, lemonade, and juice
  • Sweetened coffee or tea
  • Dried fruits

In addition, acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits can damage tooth enamel. It is best to eat them as part of a meal rather than alone.

Diet & the Health of Your Teeth

We all know that we are what we eat, and this extends to the health of our teeth. Consuming a diet that is high in fibrous fruits and vegetables, calcium, and protein, and low in processed sugary foods is one of the simplest ways to promote oral health.

Drink lots of water to support healthy teeth. Drinking water with fluoride is one of the easiest and best things you can do to prevent cavities, explains the ADA. Water keeps your mouth clean, contains zero sugar, fights dry mouth, and has no calories.

Protecting your teeth doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. Make smart choices about what you put into your body and your teeth will thank you.

References

7 Foods for Healthy Teeth. Orthodontics Australia.

Healthy Goods List: Seven Best Foods for Your Teeth. Colgate.

Nutrition: What You Eat Affects Your Teeth. Mouth Healthy: American Dental Association.

The Best and Worst Foods for Your Teeth. University of Rochester Medical Center.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

TOP