The Best Foods And Drinks For Healthy Teeth (And What To Avoid)

To support and maintain dental health, regular brushing, flossing and checkups are paramount. Dental maintenance is key as well, including making sure to get cavities filled right away when they're found. Root canals, crowns, dental implants and bridges may also be required for your best smile and optimal health.

That said, there are other things you can do on a daily basis to help maximize your dental and oral health; eating the best foods for your teeth and gums is one of them. What you put in your mouth matters, as all foods cause chemical changes that can affect your teeth. Certain foods nourish from the inside out, promoting stronger, more cavity-resistant teeth; others cleanse your teeth from the outside, washing away harmful food acids that could compromise the integrity of your tooth enamel over time.

To support good oral health, seek out the following foods and beverages for healthy teeth and gums:

Vitamin C Foods with Low Acidity (to Promote Gum Health)

  • Leafy greens
  • Bell peppers
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Mangoes
  • Cantaloupes

Foods Rich in Tooth-Nourishing Calcium

  • Lean meats
  • Nuts
  • Cheese (hard cheeses are best)
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Kale

Foods Containing Vitamin D (to Aid in Absorption of Calcium)

  • Mushrooms
  • Eggs
  • Fish  

Foods with a Healthy, Cleansing Crunch for Your Teeth

  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Radishes
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower

Healthy Smile Beverages 

The best beverage choices for optimizing oral health include:

  • Skim milk
  • Unsweetened soy milk

Foods and Beverages to Keep Away from Teeth

Over time, exposure to sugar and food acids can erode your tooth enamel; left unchecked, it can lead to tooth decay and much more serious health issues. Avoid sugary soft drinks and fruit juices as well as sugar-loaded candies, especially those that are sucked on for long periods of time. Hard candies, suckers, mints and cough drops would all fall into this category. Avoid chewy candies such as caramel and taffy as well as chewy dried fruits; these can all stick to the teeth and lead to bacteria growth and cavities. Sticky foods may also dislodge existing dental work. Avoid high-glycemic snack foods and high-carbohydrate baked goods as well. If you do indulge in these foods from time to time, try to floss and brush immediately afterward.

While regular brushing, flossing and dental checkups will go a long way in keeping teeth healthy, you can supplement this regimen with smart diet choices. Keeping these dental health food tips in mind can contribute to a healthy smile for years to come.