While your oral hygiene habits play a big role in whether you end up with cavities, your diet matters more than you might think. Eating the right foods can help strengthen your teeth and keep tooth decay at bay. Too much of the wrong foods, on the other hand, can worsen oral health problems and lead to expensive dental work.

Our Grand Rapids family dentist wants you to have all the tools you need to keep your teeth healthy. Here’s what you need to know about the foods that can help, or hurt, your teeth. Please contact us with any additional questions you may have.

What to Eat for Healthy Teeth

  • Dairy: Dairy is high in calcium as well as protein, which both help to strengthen your teeth. While you can’t get back any enamel that you’ve already lost, you can help protect your teeth against future damage.
  • Vegetables: Vegetables contain vitamins and minerals that are good for your teeth. Certain veggies, like carrots and celery, have the added benefit of scraping plaque off of your teeth when you chew them.
  • Leafy greens: While all vegetables contain vitamins, leafy greens also have the advantage of being high in calcium and folic acid, which can help prevent gum disease.
  • Fish: Many types of fish contain omega-3 fatty acids that can help combat periodontal disease. Incorporating fish into your diet in moderation can be great for your gums!
  • Water: Staying hydrated is so important for maintaining healthy teeth. Water is necessary for your body to create saliva, which naturally flushes bacteria away from your teeth and gums.

Foods to Avoid

  • Coffee and tea: While coffee and tea are fine in moderation, both of these common beverages can stain your teeth. If you do drink coffee or tea in the mornings, the best thing to do is either rinse your mouth out or brush your teeth once you’re finished so the stains don’t have time to set. Our cosmetic dentist can always advise you about teeth whitening if you’re concerned about staining.
  • Too much sugar: Since childhood, we’re told that eating too much candy will give you a cavity. That’s partly true! Harmful bacteria feed on sugar, so eating sweet foods means more of these bacteria find their way into your mouth.
  • Starchy carbs: Similar to sugar, the starches in foods like bread, pasta, and potatoes tend to stick to the teeth and accelerate tooth decay.
  • Alcohol: Not only do many alcoholic beverages contain sugars that can lead to cavities, they can also dehydrate you and dry out your mouth. This prevents bacteria from being rinsed away by saliva and can lead to tooth decay. Alcohol has also been linked to a higher risk of developing oral cancer.
  • Hard, chewy, or sticky foods: You don’t have to give up on your favorite snacks, but you should be aware that you have a greater chance of cracking, breaking, or injuring your teeth when you eat foods that are too hard or that pull at your existing dental work.

At Complete Health Dentistry, our Grand Rapids family dentist knows that good health starts with how you treat your teeth. To schedule a teeth cleaning and checkup, make an appointment by calling (616) 458-7267.