A healthful eating and oral hygiene routine can help prevent tooth and gum problems throughout your life.
Including a variety of nutrient dense foods helps to ensure that you are receiving important vitamins and minerals that promote strong teeth, good oral health, and healthy gums.
The mineral calcium promotes strong teeth and bones and can be found in fortified plant milks, fortified orange juice, tofu made with calcium, turnip greens, kale, broccoli, almond slivers, fortified cream of wheat, kefir, yogurt, cheese, low-fat cows milk, and canned salmon with bones. Foods with the mineral phosphorus such as beans, nuts, dairy, eggs, fish, and lean meats support strong teeth and bones. Vitamin C rich foods help to protect and support healthy gums – good sources include citrus, bell peppers, strawberries, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and white potatoes.1 Many other vitamins and minerals that support healthy teeth include vitamin D, vitamin K, vitamin A, magnesium, and potassium.2 As you can see, a variety of healthy foods are important for good dental health.
Eating fresh fruits and vegetables helps to protect your teeth along with drinking water with food and after meals to help get rid of bacteria and reduce acid production which may harm them. Consuming fluoridated water is another plus as it helps to provide protection to your teeth.3,4
Consuming certain types of products frequently can increase the risk for dental cavities. Try to keep your intake of food and beverages with added sugars at modest levels in your diet. Also, limiting consumption of sticky candies like taffy and candies that are in the mouth for long periods of time like lollipops can be beneficial.4
Frequent snacking especially on foods like chips that stick in the grooves of your teeth and consuming acidic beverages are other ways that harmful acid is either produced or comes in contact with your teeth.4
Avoid eating ice and other extra hard foods which may crack teeth and leave them vulnerable to acid producing bacteria and cavity formation.4
In addition to good nutrition, regular visits to a dentist are vital to maintaining healthy teeth. Take time to learn to brush and floss properly and teach these skills to your children.
For more information of keeping children’s teeth healthy from birth, check out this article from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:
1 Ellis E. Healthy Nutrition for Healthy Teeth. Eat Right Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website. Published February 2, 2021. Accessed February 15, 2022. https://www.eatright.org/food/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrient-rich-foods/healthy-nutrition-for-healthy-teeth
2 Najeeb S, Zafar MS, Khurshid Z, Zohaib S, Almas K. The Role of Nutrition in Periodontal Health: An Update. Nutrients. 2016;8(9):530. Published 2016 Aug 30. doi:10.3390/nu8090530
3 Weisenberger J. Eat Right for a Healthy Mouth and Teeth. Eat Right Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website. Published August 22, 2018. Accessed February 15, 2022. https://sm.eatright.org/teethmouthhlthy
4 American Dental Association. Top 9 Foods That Damage Your Teeth. Mouth Healthy American Dental Association website. Accessed February 15, 2022. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/nutrition/food-tips/9-foods-that-damage-your-teeth.