Maintaining oral and dental hygiene and health is important for your overall health. Not taking adequate care of your gums and teeth can result in tooth decay and gum disease, which can be painful and expensive to treat. It is simple to brush and floss regularly, but it is only part of the lifestyle habits you need to adopt to maintain good oral health.

You are what you eat, and a balanced diet that delivers vital nutrients in optimal quantity will prevent your teeth from decaying. Foods rich in added sugar lead to tooth decay, as sugars lead to the build-up of plaque and tartar, which eventually lead to disease if not addressed. Sugar-rich foods include candies, chocolates, pastries, sweetened carbonated beverages and smoothies.

Sugar-free products that use an artificial substitute of sugar, such as sugar-free gum, can be better alternatives. While sugars occur naturally in fruits, they do not cause tooth problems as they are not processed. Wine, tea and coffee can stain your teeth as well, if consumed excessively and without adequate personal hygiene measures. Similarly, smoking can stain the teeth and damage the blood vessels around them, so it is a good idea to limit or quit smoking if you do.

Here is a list of foods you should to develop stronger teeth and promote gum health.

  1. Cheese: Cheese is now available in many varieties in India. The variety of flavour, consistency and smell makes cheese fun to experiment with, and it is also supposed to be good for oral health. For starters, cheese contains a good amount of calcium, which may play a role in strengthening your teeth. According to a 2013 study, cheese slightly increases the pH of the mouth which discourages the development of tartar. Additionally, the consistency of some cheese requires rigorous jaw action which is good for dislodging food particles stuck between the teeth. If possible, opt for cheese that is not processed.
  2. Milk and yogurt: Similar to cheese, milk and yogurt are rich in calcium which is supposed to be good for teeth. Probiotics in yogurt foster the development of good bacteria in the mouth which can decrease the production of plaque and tartar. When possible, choose low fat options with no added flavours. 
  3. Leafy greens: Vegetables, legumes and leafy green vegetables always feature among healthier choices in foods. This is because they are loaded with healthy vitamins and minerals and are low in calories. Specifically for teeth, they contain folic acid and calcium, both of which have been associated with better teeth and gum health. A 2019 study showed that those on a diet with large amounts of greens reported better gum and teeth health. 
  4. Almonds: Dry fruits such as almonds are healthy alternatives to sugar laden snacks. They contain fibre, vitamins and calcium which are good for teeth. At the same time, their hardness is also good for oral health since the chewing action dislodges stuck food particles. The NHS of the UK (National Health Service) recommends eating dry fruits and nuts as a part of larger meals or as components of dishes. This is because while they are healthier than processed snacks, their caloric values are still high and indulging in them can lead to weight gain.
  5. Apples: Apples have a cleansing effect on the mouth; you will notice that you feel fresh and revitalized after eating the fruit. Apples contain a large amount of water and fibre, both good for teeth and gums alike. The high water content washes away harmful bacteria lodged in the teeth; it is somewhat similar to rinsing the mouth. The fibrous texture of the fruit engages the gums and stimulates saliva production. While apples do contain sugar, it is naturally occurring and does not have an adverse effect on teeth. 

Other than these, it is also important to replace sugary beverages such as blended juices, smoothies, sodas with water, low fat milk or drinks with artificial or no sugar. Even unsweetened fruit juices should be limited and you should not drink more than 150 ml in a day.


  1. Woelber JP, et al. The influence of an anti‐inflammatory diet on gingivitis. A randomized controlled trial. J Clin Periodontol. 2019 Apr;46(4):481-490. PMID: 30941800
  2. Eureka Alert [Internet]. American Association for the Advancement of Science; New research shows cheese may prevent cavities
  3. NHS [Internet]. National Health Services; Lifestyle tips for healthy teeth
  4. University of Rochester Medical Center[Internet]. University of Rochester. Rochester, NY; How to Keep Your Gums and Teeth Healthy
  5. The University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry [Internet]. The University of Illinois at Chicago College. Chicago, IL; Tips for Good Oral Hygiene and Healthy Smiles
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