The Role Of Nutrition In Oral Health

May 04, 2023 8 min read

For overall health and well-being, maintaining good oral health is crucial. Our diet and nutrition directly impact our oral health, and the foods we consume can make a big difference in how healthy our teeth and gums are.

Strong teeth and healthy gums require a balanced diet full of essential minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins C and D. In contrast, a diet rich in processed foods and sugar raises your chances of gum disease and tooth decay. And with gum disease linked to many serious physical conditions, it is wise to take care of your mouth.

This article will explore the role of nutrition in oral health and provide tips for improving dietary habits to promote good oral health.

Diet and Oral Microbiome Links

Diet has a significant impact on the oral microbiome. After the stomach, the second-largest human microbial community in the body is theoral microbiome–which is the term for thesymbiotic community of pathogenic and healthy bacteria in the oral cavity. In the oral cavity, hundreds of strains of bacteria colonize both hard and soft tissues. 

When there is a natural balance of bacteria your mouth maintains a neutral pH. But when certain strains of bacteria grow out of control, most commonly for high refined carbohydrates and sugars, then the mouth turns acidic and oral disease is the result.

The Role of Nutrition in Maintaining Good Oral Health 

Nutrition is essential to good oral health.. 

Specific nutrients are needed for strong, healthy teeth and gums. Vitamin C strengthens gums and avoids gum disease, while calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D are necessary for strong teeth and bones.

Protein is crucial for maintaining oral health because it helps grow and repair oral tissues. Omega-3 fatty acids may additionally support healthy gum tissue and reduce inflammation.

And while supplements are great, a focus on incorporating nutrient-rich foods into your diet is important. It is not complicated to work in a diet focused on leafy greens, lean meats and fish, nuts, fibrous root vegetables and even some dairy products are alll great sources of the vitamins and minerals our teeth and gums require.

Importance of a Balanced Diet

A diet heavy on sugar (including “healthy fruit juices or smoothies) and processed foods are directly linked toTooth decay andgum disease. If one is also following a diet lacking in essential nutrients, then this also weakens teeth and gums, making them more vulnerable to infection and disease.

A variety of nutritious foods from all categories make up a balanced diet. Whole grains offer energy and fiber, while vegetables and fruits are great sources of vitamins and minerals. The tissues in the mouth must be rebuilt and repaired, which calls for lean proteins like those found in meat, seafood, and beans.

The Impact of Sugary and Acidic Foods on Teeth

Foods that are high in sugar and acid harm the teeth. Certain bacteria in our mouths flourish when given sugar. As they grow and grow, they produce biological byproducts which are highly acidic. These acids erode the teeth and irritate the gums, leading to oral disease and tooth decay. They are also responsible for plaque build-up that damages both the enamel and your gums. The bacteria form a film, called a biofilm, on your teeth and sugary foods stick to teeth and gums, providing these bacteria with a food supply and accelerating their production of acids.

Normally, when you have a healthy balance of bacteria along with a good diet, your saliva counteracts the acids, but with a poor diet your body’s natural systems don’t have a chance to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Limiting your consumption of sugary and acidic foods and beverages, such as soda, candy, and citrus fruits, is crucial. It is essential to rinse your mouth with water after eating these kinds of foods to help neutralize the acid and protect your teeth. Another wise move is to use a natural blend of essential oils, such as OraRestore Essential Oil For Healthy Gums from Great Oral Health, that are designed to safely inhibit the overgrowth of bad bacteria.

Erosion and Tooth Decay

Understanding the relation between tooth erosion and decay will help you understand how various foods affect oral health

Theerosion of tooth enamel, ordemineralization, is brought on by a person's regular consumption of very acidic foods and beverages.

Thedeterioration of enamel caused by an abundance of dental plaque, a biofilm made by acidic bacteria and helped by high sugar consumption, is known as tooth decay (also known as caries or cavities).

Once again, consuming too many acidic products and foods high in sugar worsen tooth decay and expose the dentin beneath the protective enamel.

Gum Disease

Periodontal diseases are normally the result of inadequate oral hygiene and poor nutrition–both of which you can be in control of. Oral disease is very common, in fact, close to 90% of people globally have been affected by oral health disease. 

Gingivitis: The most common gum condition,gingivitis, is caused by tooth plaque. The buildup of plaque results in dental decay and inflamed gums.

Periodontitis: This dangerous periodontal condition causes tooth loss and harms the delicate tissues in your mouth. As tooth plaque calcifies it forms a hard layer called Calculus. This irritates the gums and they retreat, causing deep pockets and cavities in the gums. Pathogenic microbes establish a home in these pockets and further erode the teeth and cause deeper damage to the gums. Eventually, one can lose one’s teeth and even more alarming, these pockets of bacteria become toxic waste dumps that seep into your blood system… causing mayhem throughout your body.

Scurvy: Scurvy is a vitamin C deficiency condition that results in many microbes that produce acid settling along the gum line.

We said it before but it is worth saying again, poor oral health impacts your quality of life. Numerous studies have found a link between gum disease and systemic health issues like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, lung diseases, and even dementia. 

Foods to Avoid

Now that you know the link between nutrition and oral health, let us look at some foods to avoid.

Beverages that are either acidic or high in sugar (or both) should be avoided or drank in moderation. Some of these include:

  • Wine contains a lot of sugar, particularly white wine. So, drink in moderation and rinse with water after drinking. (It is a wise idea to alternate any alcoholic drink with a full glass of water).
  • Candy type drinks
  • Fruit juices, particularly citrus juices prepared from oranges, grapefruit, lemons, or limes
  • Most soft drinks are highly acidic and should be avoided, aside from the fact that they are just empty calories with zero nutritional value. Especially avoid those that are sour or tart and contain malic acid, phosphoric acid, or citric acid
  • Pickled items and vinegar, including apple cider vinegar. These are quite acidic and should be used in moderation.
  • Alcohol in excess is strongly linked to gum disease. Drink in moderation and rinse with water to clear the sugars from your teeth.

Eating these foods with other foods with a higher pH is recommended to help balance the acidity. Saliva is also a great pH neutralizer and so chewing a xylitol gum will help to stimulate saliva flow and counteract bacterial overgrowth. Equally important, brushing your teeth with a neutralizing and remineralizing toothpaste, such as Fluoride free toothpaste helps to restore a healthy pH and to bond minerals back to your enamel.

Look out for high-carb foods with added sugars or starches. Just about any refined carbohydrate type of food is going to spike the growth cycle of bad bacteria. Among the foods to avoid are:

  • Most all commercial breakfast cereals which often are loaded with sugar.
  • So called “health bars” which are loaded with carbs and sugars
  • Snack foods that stick to your teeth, such as some potato crisps, can harm your gums
  • All breads made from refined grains, especially if loaded with sugar as most muffins
  • Husks from popcorn kernels can cling to teeth and gums, causing damage to both

It is not that one has to forever deny oneself treats or sweets, but these are not healthy and should be for occasional enjoyment and not 3 meals a day! 

Must read for 12 Foods That Make Your Teeth White

Nutrients You Need

Maintaining proper nutrition and supporting a healthy oral cavity takes more than avoiding unhealthy food. Load up on healthy foods and consider adding nutritional supplement to your life.

The nutrients that your mouth requires are.

  • B vitamins, such as folate and B12, vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K2

For optimal mouth nutrition, essential minerals include.

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Phosphorus

The Best Foods for Oral Health

  • Kale and spinach
  • Whole grains
  • Peas, beans, and other kinds of vegetables
  • Fruits and veggies that are fiber-rich and fresh
  • Cheese 
  • Chewing Gum without Sugar

As a note, most people do not realize how important saliva is to maintain strong teeth and gums. Saliva contains minerals that help restore eroded enamel as well as neutralizing those damaging acids. Chewing stimulates saliva flow, so fibrous foods that require chewing are quite beneficial. And clinical studies support that eating more fruits and especially green, leafy veggies could even lower the risk of oral cancer.

Tips for Improving Dietary Habits to Promote Oral Health

Here are some tips for improving dietary habits to promote oral health.

  • Limit sugary and acidic foods and drinks: Limit your consumption of candy, desserts, and other sugary treats, and select water instead of soda or other beverages with sugar.
  • Eat a balanced diet: Include a range of nutritious foods, such as lean protein, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lentils.
  • Chew sugar-free gum after meals: Chewing sugar-free gum can increase salivation, which helps neutralize oral acid and avoid tooth decay.
  • Avoid snacking throughout the day: The risk of tooth decay can rise if you frequently snack. If you find yourself continuously hungry, you may be low in healthy fat consumption, so try adding some olive oil to your diet.
  • Brush and floss regularly: It is crucial to brush and floss your teeth to keep your mouth healthy. Flossing disrupts the growth cycle of bad bacteria so that is why it is important to floss DAILY! To get rid of plaque and particles of food stuck in between your teeth, brush your teeth twice a day withGreat Oral Health toothpaste and add powerful remineralization to counteract the erosion from bacterial acids.
  • Visit your dentist regularly: Maintaining good oral health requires regular checkups and cleanings. And if a problem is caught early, then your dentist can find and treat dental health issues quickly with minimal cost and discomfort.

Discover even more about Is Gum Health Reversible


Good oral health and good overall health are tightly connected. Nutrition is essential for maintaining both. A healthy, balanced diet of vital nutrients can help strengthen teeth and gums and fight gum disease and dental decay. On the other hand, a diet rich in processed foods and sugar can raise the risk of oral health issues.

We can maintain good oral health and enhance our general well-being by incorporating healthy eating habits into our daily routine, such as limiting sugary and acidic foods and drinks, consuming a balanced diet, and practicing good oral hygiene. To ensure that any issues with our oral health are promptly detected and treated, it is also crucial that we visit our dentist frequently for checkups and cleanings.

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