How Diet Can Affect Dental Health

I brush and floss regularly and have my teeth cleaned every six months like clockwork. I’m still having a problem with my gums bleeding. Is there anything else I can do to improve the health of my gums?

Douglas in New York


Often people tend to think that brushing, flossing, and regular cleanings are “good enough” for their dental health. The truth is that your diet also plays a crucial role in your overall dental health. No matter how much you brush or floss gum issues or tooth decay may still happen. What we put into our mouths determines the health of our teeth and gums as well as the vitamins and minerals we take into our bodies.

Fresh fruits help remove debris from teeth, they stimulate the salivary glands, and reduce acid in the mouth. Fruit such as apples and pears are great for our teeth. They contain natural sugars which are not as bad as sucrose; a major cause of tooth decay. Fruits also produce a lot of saliva which actually reduce bacteria in the mouth that cause cavities.

Vitamin C is essential for healthy teeth and gums. It too helps reduce bacteria in the mouth which causes tooth decay. A sign of a deficiency in Vitamin C is bleeding gums. If you brush and floss regularly, but still have a problem with bleeding gums, what you may really have is a Vitamin C deficiency. Some foods rich in Vitamin C you may consider adding to your diet are:

  • Oranges, Guavas, Strawberries, Kiwi, Papayas, and Tangerines
  • Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts
  • Fresh Herbs like Thyme and Parsley
  • Red Bell Peppers
  • Green or Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Dark Leafy Greens

Calcium also plays a significant role by protecting teeth against decay and aiding in the prevention of gum disease. Calcium helps keep our teeth and bones strong. Some foods high in calcium include:

  • Enriched Breads and Grains
  • Yogurt, Cheese, Milk and other dairy products
  • Dark Leafy Greens like Spinach, Kale, Turnips and Collard Greens
  • Fortified Cereals like Corn Flakes, Total, and Raisin Bran
  • Fortified Orange Juice
  • Sardines or Soybeans

In the end, a good diet plays a vital role in preventing dental problems and having healthy gums and teeth. Not only does this lead to a healthier mouth, it alsoprevents costly dental treatments in the future.

This post was provided by Elgin dentist Dr. Steve Sirin.

Connect with Us

We look forward to meeting you.
Call (847) 742-1330 or request an appointment online to set up your first visit. We’ll be in touch soon.