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10 Foods to Eat for Better Oral Health

The holiday season is here. With Thanksgiving next week, you may already be dreaming about apple pie, pumpkin pie, pecan pie…the list goes on! Given the treats that often fill our plates during this time of gathering, it’s important to balance your sweet tooth with some good-for-you choices too. 

Read on for 10 foods to eat for better oral health.

1. Apples

Thanks to their crunch, apples tend to increase saliva production, which rinses the mouth and wards off cavities. Celery and carrots are great on-the-go snack options too. 

2. Cranberries

Did you know cranberries contain compounds that make it hard for bacteria to cling to surfaces? This trait makes them a promising way to avoid cavities. Plus, cranberry juice stops the formation of glucan, a building block for plaque. Despite these oral health benefits, you should still brush your teeth shortly after eating them, as they are relatively high in sugar. 

3. Yogurt

High in calcium, yogurt helps to strengthen the protective enamel on your teeth. It may also eliminate bad breath by reducing odor-causing compounds, like hydrogen sulfide, in your mouth. Just be sure to choose a brand without a lot of added sugar.

4. Cinnamon

This spice contains natural plant oils called cinnamic aldehyde, which have been shown to kill off oral bacteria. Luckily, it’s the perfect complement to many winter dishes, including sweet potatoes, soups, and oatmeal (more on that below!). 

5. Green tea

Research suggests that green tea may prevent bone resorption, reduce inflammation, and inhibit the growth of bacteria, which causes gum disease. With only 35 milligrams of caffeine, you can enjoy a warm cup after lunch and know that you’re boosting your oral health!

6. Oats

Whole gains, including oats, have long been linked to better overall health; more recently, they’ve been linked to improved periodontal health as well. A study suggests that they indirectly lead to better oral health by improving the body’s ability to process sugar.

7. Leafy greens

Leafy greens may be one of the best foods for better oral health. First, like oats, they help to lower blood sugar. They also contain phytochemicals that help to fight bacteria. Plus, they promote increased chewing action, which increases the production of saliva and rinses the teeth. Lastly, they are rich vitamins and minerals and contain little to no sugar. 

8. Almonds

Almonds have been shown to lower blood sugar and increase the production of saliva. Plus, they are high in calcium and low in sugar.

9. Milk and cheese

Like almonds, milk and cheese also contain a high amount of calcium, which serves to strengthen your teeth and bones. Even better, they contain a protein called casein, which works to neutralize oral acids produced by bacteria. 

10. Water

Yes, even water is good for your teeth! Fluoridated drinking water strengthens your teeth. Plus, if you replace sugary juices or sodas with water, you’ll decrease your risk of cavities. 


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