Best Foods to Eat for Strong, Healthy Teeth

We asked a medical expert what to include in your diet to keep your chompers clean and happy.

By: Washingtonian Staff

Dr. Angela Austin.

Welcome to a new Well+Being feature, in which we have experts answer your burning health questions. The first installment: How to keep your teeth clean. (No, it’s not just about brushing and flossing.) We asked Dr. Angela Austin of Alexandria Children’s Dentistry what foods and drinks will keep both your teeth and your dentist happy. Here’s what she had to say:

“While most of us already know the foods and drinks that cause tooth decay, it’s just as important to focus on foods that promote a healthy mouth.”

Dairy
“Dairy products such as cheese, milk, and plain yogurt protect tooth enamel by providing the calcium and phosphorus needed to remineralize teeth and keep them strong.”

Fiber
“Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables are also essential for a healthy mouth. They are great food choices because they have a high water content, which helps stimulate the flow of saliva to wash away food particles.”

Sugarless Gum

“Sugarless chewing gum is another great saliva generator that helps get rid of food particles from your mouth. Gums that contain the sugar substitute xylitol can even reduce the risk of cavities. The best beverage choices include fluoridated water, milk, and unsweetened tea.”

Vitamins

“We all need vitamins to promote growth and a healthy body. The vitamins that are essential for a healthy mouth include vitamin B for healthy gums and bones; vitamin C to keep gums healthy; and vitamin D to strengthen teeth and bones.”

One last tip

“Eating or drinking sugary foods or drinks constantly throughout the day increases your risk of tooth decay. If starches and sugars are consumed, it’s best to eat or drink these only at mealtimes to reduce the amount of time these items are sitting in the mouth. And finally, it’s best to try to stay away from sticky candies and sweets, refined carbohydrates, carbonated soft drinks, and lots of fruit juice.”

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