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5 Foods That Help In Keeping Your Teeth Decay Free And 5 Foods To Avoid!

Preserving excellent oral hygiene is essential to ensure both a radiant smile and your overall health and wellness. One of the key aspects of oral health is preventing tooth decay, which can lead to cavities, gum disease, dental abscesses and a host of other dental problems. While regular dental care, such as brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups, is essential, your diet plays a significant role in your oral health.

In this article, we'll explore five foods that can help keep your teeth decay-free and five foods to avoid to protect your pearly whites.

Key Takeaways

  •   Drinking water and rinsing after meals helps dilute sugary drinks, stimulates saliva production, and effectively removes food particles, thereby decreasing the potential for tooth decay.
  •   The inclusion of dairy products like milk and cheese in your diet supplies essential calcium, contributing to tooth strength and stimulating saliva production.
  •   Crunchy foods such as apples, carrots, oranges, and berries are not only delightful to eat but are also rich in water content. This quality aids in promoting the production of saliva and effectively cleansing the mouth by removing food particles, subsequently lowering the likelihood of tooth decay.
  •   Chewing sugar-free gum with xylitol can enhance saliva production, remove food particles, neutralize bacteria, and strengthen enamel, all of which contribute to preventing tooth decay.

Foods that help prevent tooth decay

You may be surprised to learn that certain foods actually help prevent tooth decay. Let's take a closer look at each one and how they can help keep your teeth healthy.

Water - Nature's Best Friend

Drinking ample water is a key factor in safeguarding your teeth against decay. It serves as a natural cleanser, rinsing away food particles and countering acidic foods that contribute to tooth decay. Most tap water contains fluoride, which is a mineral that helps to strengthen enamel. Moreover, water combats dry mouth, reducing the likelihood of tooth decay. Among its many benefits, water dilutes sugary drinks, stimulates saliva production to combat oral bacteria, washes away food particles to prevent plaque buildup, and keeps teeth and gums hydrated, thereby thwarting decay.

Dairy products - A Calcium and Phosphate Rich Choice

Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yoghurt provide calcium and phosphates, which are essential for maintaining healthy teeth. Calcium is an essential component of tooth enamel, protecting the outer layer of teeth. It helps to repair and strengthen tooth enamel, reducing the risk of decay. Phosphates also aid in remineralizing teeth and combating acid erosion. Incorporating these dairy options into your diet can contribute to healthier, more resilient teeth.

Crunchy fruits and vegetables - Nature's Toothbrush

Fruits and vegetables, like pears, apples, carrots, cucumbers, and celery, not only offer nutritional benefits but also support and enhance oral health. Their natural crispness and high fibre content act as nature's toothbrush, helping to scrub away plaque and food debris from your teeth.

Chewing these foods stimulates saliva production, which neutralizes acids and protects against tooth decay. Include more of these crunchy choices in your diet for a cleaner, healthier smile.

Green and black tea - The Anti-Bacterial Brew

Tea, especially green and black tea, contains polyphenols, compounds renowned for their ability to potentially inhibit the proliferation of oral bacteria. These polyphenols assist in controlling the bacterial populations that cause tooth decay and gum disease. Drinking tea without added sugars is a great way to benefit from these natural compounds and protect your oral health. The fluoride in tea can also contribute to tooth strength and help prevent cavities.

Sugar-free gum with xylitol - Saliva Booster

Chewing sugar-free gum that contains xylitol is an enjoyable habit that can promote oral health. Xylitol is a natural sweetener that helps increase saliva production. Saliva is vital for oral health as it neutralizes acids and removes food particles and bacteria. Regular gum chewing with xylitol can help prevent tooth decay and improve breath freshness. Just be sure to choose gum without added sugars to maximize the benefits.

Foods to avoid to prevent tooth decay

To protect your teeth from decay, it's important to avoid certain foods. Be mindful of these foods and limit your intake for optimal oral health.

Sugary snacks and candies - A Feast for Bacteria

Sugary snacks and candies like cookies, chocolates, and soft drinks are a haven for harmful bacteria in your mouth. These treats provide a steady supply of sugars for bacteria to feed on, leading to increased acid production. This acid attacks tooth enamel, leading to decay and cavities. It's best to limit your consumption of these sugary delights and practice good oral hygiene afterwards.

Sticky and gummy foods - Tooth Adherents

Foods like caramel, dried fruits, and gummy candies may taste delicious, but they can adhere to the surfaces of your teeth. These sticky substances are challenging to remove by saliva and even brushing. Over time, they provide a constant source of sugar for bacteria, promoting tooth decay. If you indulge in these foods, be sure to brush and floss diligently afterwards.

Acidic foods and beverages - Tooth Erosion Culprits

Over time, acidic foods and drinks, like citrus fruits, vinegar-based foods, and carbonated soft drinks, can slowly wear away tooth enamel. The acid in these items weakens tooth enamel, making teeth more vulnerable to decay. When consuming acidic foods, it's advisable to rinse your mouth with water and wait approximately 30 minutes before brushing your teeth to prevent harming the softened enamel.

Starchy foods - Unexpected Culprits

Starchy foods like potato chips, white bread, and pasta can stick to the crevices of your teeth, and they break down into sugars. These sugars provide a food source for bacteria that produce acids, which can lead to tooth decay. If you consume starchy foods, it's essential to rinse your mouth and then diligently brush your teeth to ensure the removal of any remaining particles.

Excessive alcohol - Dry Mouth Dilemma

Overindulgence in alcohol and smoking can lead to a dry mouth, which is a condition characterized by reduced saliva production due to the impairment of salivary glands. Saliva is crucial for neutralizing acids, removing food debris, and preserving oral health. A dry mouth elevates the likelihood of tooth decay. To minimize this risk, restrict alcohol intake and ensure proper hydration by drinking an adequate amount of water.


Adopting a diet rich in vegetables, low- or no-sugar-added dairy products, fruits, and lean proteins and consuming ample water is a safe and effective approach to preventing tooth decay and supporting overall oral health. Avoiding acidic drinks or sodas can also help in protecting the outer layer (enamel) of your tooth from corrosion.
Eating a lot of sticky and sugary foods, habits like biting your nails, improper brushing technique, snacking constantly throughout the day and not rinsing after the snacks, smoking or chewing tobacco, clenching and grinding your teeth are some of the habits that cause tooth decay.
Cavities, alternatively referred to as tooth decay or caries, represent enduring damage to the hard surface of teeth, evolving into small openings or holes. Multiple factors contribute to their development, including the presence of oral bacteria, frequent snacking, consumption of sugary drinks, and insufficient teeth cleaning practices.
Apples and citrus fruits are beneficial for oral health due to the fibrous texture that stimulates gum activity during chewing. This stimulation helps reduce cavity-causing bacteria and enhances saliva flow. Increased saliva is advantageous as it reduces mouth acidity and effectively washes away food particles that can contribute to decay.
Consistent brushing helps maintain proper oral hygiene by removing the thin layer of dental plaque that forms on the tooth surface. Choose an appropriate toothpaste and brush twice a day. Consider oil-pulling and chewing sugar-free gum as additional practices. Boost your vitamin D intake for overall dental health.
Cheese, milk, and yoghurt are excellent choices for promoting dental health for several reasons. Additionally, staying hydrated with water is beneficial. Crunchy vegetables such as celery, capsicum, carrots, and leafy greens like spinach, lettuce, and kale contribute to good oral health. Apples and pears, along with nuts, provide nutritious options. Meats and fatty fish are also favourable for dental health. While tea and coffee should be consumed in moderation, these selections collectively support a diet conducive to maintaining healthy teeth.
The enamel can self-repair using minerals from saliva and fluoride from toothpaste or other sources. However, if tooth decay persists, more minerals are lost. As time goes on, the enamel becomes increasingly weakened and ultimately deteriorates, forming a cavity. Cavities represent permanent damage that necessitates dental intervention, typically in the form of a filling provided by a dentist.
The casein proteins in dairy create a protective coating over the teeth, guarding against decay. Milk's calcium content is essential for building robust bones and aiding in the repair of damaged bone tissues. The neutral pH of milk plays a role in bacteria control, and the phosphorus content contributes to the maintenance of tooth enamel. Overall, the components in milk contribute to dental health and overall well-being.
Starchy and sticky foods such as pasta, potatoes, white bread, and Rice tend to adhere to the teeth, serving as an energy source for bacteria and, consequently, are detrimental to dental health. The process of saliva converting starches to sugars begins shortly after consumption, further contributing to the risk of dental issues.
Bananas boast essential vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin B6, and dietary fibre in abundance. Moreover, they offer an array of minerals like potassium, manganese, and magnesium. These minerals play a role in fortifying tooth enamel, making bananas a beneficial addition to promoting dental health.


Maintaining healthy teeth and preventing tooth decay is not only about diligent dental care but also about making wise dietary choices. The foods you consume can either support your oral health or increase the risk of decay. By steering clear of sugary snacks and beverages and opting for crisp fruits and vegetables, you can decrease your susceptibility to tooth decay by as much as 40%. To understand more about the traits of the food on your plate, you can consult the specialists at Hope Dental & Esthetic Clinic, Noida, and ensure your food habits help keep your body and smile healthy and happy.

So, start snacking smarter, and your teeth will thank you for it!

Dr. Mimansa Bhoj

BDS, MDS (Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon)

University Gold medalist

About the Author

Dr. Mimansa is a highly accomplished oral and maxillofacial surgeon with a wealth of experience in her field. With a strong academic background and numerous gold medals, she has treated over 5000 patients for various oral and maxillofacial problems. Dr. Mimansa has practiced in different parts of India and has learned from the best in the field, making her an expert in OMFS and Dentistry. Known for her friendly and empathetic approach, she believes in providing treatments with care and compassion to heal her patients. With academic achievements, multiple scientific publications, and her current role as an Associate Professor, Dr. Mimansa is dedicated to providing the highest quality of care. She has also established a safe space, Hope Dental and Esthetic Clinic, during the pandemic, ensuring the utmost safety for patients while providing dental and medical treatments.