Diet & Oral Health: Foods to Choose For a Healthy Smile


At Beach Grove Dental in Tsawwassen, we understand the importance of a dazzling smile. But a beautiful smile goes beyond aesthetics; it’s a window to your overall health. Just like a healthy diet fuels your body, the foods you choose play a crucial role in maintaining strong, healthy teeth and gums. In this post, Dr Beeram, your friendly family dentist in Tsawwassen South Delta, will explore the connection between diet and oral health, discuss the best foods to promote a healthy smile, and explain why regular dental checkups are essential for optimal oral health.

The Importance of Oral Health

Good oral health is not just about a bright, sparkling smile. It’s a crucial component of our overall health and well-being. Poor dental hygiene and untreated dental issues can lead to a host of problems, including gum disease, tooth loss, and even systemic health problems like heart disease and diabetes. By taking care of our teeth and gums, we can not only improve our appearance but also protect our general health. For more information about the effects of oral health on our overall health, please read our blog post “How Oral Health Can Impact Your Overall Health.” 

Why Does Diet Matter for Oral Health?

The human mouth is teeming with bacteria. While some bacteria are beneficial, others can wreak havoc on your teeth and gums. Sugary and starchy foods provide the perfect breeding ground for harmful bacteria, leading to plaque buildup, cavities, and gum disease. Plaque is a sticky film that clings to teeth, and when left unchecked, hardens into tartar (calculus). This hardened plaque irritates the gums, causing inflammation and bleeding – the early signs of gum disease.

On the other hand, a healthy diet rich in the right nutrients can strengthen your teeth, fight harmful bacteria, and promote overall oral health. So, what should you be including in your diet for a healthy smile?

Power Up Your Smile with These Nutritious Foods

Now, let’s stock your smile pantry with the essential nutrients it needs to thrive!  These delicious and healthy foods will not only tantalise your taste buds but also provide the building blocks for strong teeth and healthy gums.

Best Food for Healthy Teeth and optimal oral health. Cute tooth cartoon character infographic elements with foods icons in flat design isolated on white background

Dairy Products

Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yoghurt are packed with calcium and vitamin D, the dynamic duo for strong teeth and healthy gums.

  • Calcium: This mineral forms the building blocks of tooth enamel, the hard outer layer protecting your teeth from decay. Calcium-rich dairy products help keep your enamel strong and resilient.
  • Vitamin D: This essential vitamin aids calcium absorption, ensuring your body effectively utilises calcium to strengthen your teeth and bones.
  • Cheese: Beyond its calcium and vitamin D content, cheese also stimulates saliva production. Saliva is your mouth’s natural defence system, washing away food particles and neutralising plaque acids that can erode tooth enamel.

Fruits and Vegetables

Nature’s candy! Crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots, and celery act as natural toothbrushes, scraping away plaque and stimulating saliva flow. Leafy greens like spinach and kale are your secret weapon for healthy gums.

  • Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables: As you bite into these nutrient-rich options, the increased chewing action helps remove plaque buildup and massage your gums, promoting healthy circulation.
  • Leafy Greens: These powerhouses are loaded with vitamins C and K, essential nutrients for maintaining strong, healthy gums. Vitamin C helps build collagen, the connective tissue that supports your gums, while vitamin K plays a role in blood clotting, which is important for preventing excessive bleeding during brushing or flossing.

Lean Protein and Nuts

Lean protein sources like fish, chicken, and beans provide essential building blocks for your tooth structure. Nuts and seeds offer a delightful crunch with a powerful nutritional punch.

  • Lean Protein: Protein is a crucial component of tooth enamel and dentin, the layer beneath the enamel. Consuming lean protein sources like fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids can contribute to overall oral health.
  • Nuts and Seeds: These tiny nutritional powerhouses are packed with protein, healthy fats, calcium, and magnesium. Almonds, for example, are a good source of calcium and magnesium, which can help strengthen tooth enamel and bones. Nuts can also help remove plaque and stains, polishing your enamel for a brighter smile.


Water is the ultimate beverage for your overall health, including your oral health. It keeps you hydrated, flushes out toxins, prevents dry mouth, and helps rinse away food particles and plaque.

  • Hydration: When you’re dehydrated, your mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva. Saliva plays a vital role in washing away food debris and neutralising acids produced by bacteria in your mouth. Aim for eight glasses of water daily to keep your mouth hydrated and promote optimal oral health.

Don’t Forget These Dietary Culprits

While a balanced diet promotes a healthy smile, certain foods can negatively impact your oral health. Here’s what to limit:

Sugary Foods and Drinks

Sugar is the arch-enemy of healthy teeth. When you consume sugary treats and drinks, the bacteria in your mouth have a field day. These bacteria feed on sugar and produce acid as a byproduct. This acid erodes tooth enamel, the hard outer layer protecting your teeth from decay. Over time, this erosion can lead to cavities.

Girl having dental problems after eating too much sugar

Examples: Candy, cookies, cakes, pastries, soda, juice (especially commercially-produced juices with added sugars), sweetened coffee drinks, sports drinks, and energy drinks.

Starchy Foods

Starchy foods like white bread, pasta, and refined carbohydrates might seem harmless, but they can wreak havoc on your teeth. These foods break down into sugars in your mouth, just like sugary treats. The resulting sugars fuel the growth of harmful bacteria, leading to plaque buildup and cavities.

Sneaky Culprits: While bread, pasta, and rice are obvious culprits, breakfast cereals, crackers, chips, pretzels, and sugary breakfast bars can also be loaded with refined carbohydrates. Be mindful of hidden sugars in processed foods and opt for whole-grain alternatives whenever possible. Whole grains take longer to digest, causing less of a spike in blood sugar and reducing the risk of sugar-feeding harmful bacteria.

Acidic Foods and Drinks

Acidic foods and drinks can erode tooth enamel, making your teeth more susceptible to cavities. While some acidic fruits like oranges and grapefruits are beneficial for overall health, be mindful of their effect on your teeth.

Erosion Culprits: Citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes), sodas (including diet sodas which are acidic due to carbonation), sports drinks, energy drinks, coffee (although coffee itself is not highly acidic, adding sugary creamers or sweeteners increases acidity).

Remember: It’s not just about eliminating these foods entirely, but practicing moderation and mindful consumption. If you do indulge in sugary or acidic treats, rinse your mouth with water afterwards to help neutralise the acids and flush away food particles.

Regular Dental Checkups: The Key to Optimal Oral Health

While maintaining a healthy diet is crucial for a healthy smile, it’s not enough. Regular dental checkups are essential for optimal oral health. Here’s why:

  • Early Detection of Problems: Dental checkups allow Dr Beeram to identify and address potential problems like cavities, gum disease, or oral cancer early on, when treatment is easier and less invasive.
  • Professional Cleaning: Even with good brushing and flossing, plaque can build up in hard-to-reach areas. Regular dental cleanings remove this plaque and tartar buildup, preventing gum disease and tooth decay.
  • Oral Hygiene Guidance: During your checkup, Dr Beeram can assess your brushing and flossing technique and offer personalised advice for optimal oral hygiene at home.
A patient sitting in a dental chair and a dentist at Beach Grove Dental having a discussion about the results of a dental checkup

For a healthy, beautiful smile that contributes to your overall well-being, schedule your next dental checkup at Beach Grove Dental in Tsawwassen today! Call us at  604-330-1163 or visit our website to book an appointment. Dr Beeram has been providing gentle, compassionate, and quality dental care for over 15 years. We have a friendly and caring dental team, a modern and comfortable dental office, and a flexible and convenient schedule. 

Remember, a healthy smile starts with a healthy diet and regular dental care. Let’s work together to keep your smile bright and your teeth healthy for life!