What you eat and drink plays an important role in keeping your teeth healthy. You probably already know that things like soda and sugary foods are bad for your teeth. But fighting tooth decay is more than just staying away from the bad—it’s also about adding foods with vitamins and minerals to your diet.

How do you like them apples?

Apples have long been recommended as a way to help clean your teeth after eating. Although chewing an apple won’t remove plaque, and it may favor plaque regrowth during the first 24 hours, it does stimulate saliva flow and can cause a cleaning effect similar to brushing.1

But wait! There’s more food that’s good for teeth

Variety is the spice of life and also good for your oral health. Here are some more foods for healthy teeth to add to your shopping list:2

  • Dairy products like plain yogurt and cheese can be primary dietary sources of calcium, which strengthens tooth enamel
  • High-fiber foods like carrots and leafy vegetables require a lot of chewing and can act like a car wash for your teeth
  • Strawberries contain malic acid, a natural enamel whitener

Drink to your tooth health

A good way to wash down the best foods for teeth is with the best drinks for teeth. Options include:3

  • Milk has a lot of calcium, protein and vitamin D, which helps keep teeth strong and healthy
  • Green or herbal teas have a bunch of antioxidants that can reduce inflammation, help prevent bone loss and limit the growth of certain bacteria that cause gum disease4
  • Mineral water has high mineral content, as well as calcium phosphate, which can help rebuild tooth enamel
  • Tap water usually has fluoride in it, which helps to reduce tooth decay and prevent cavities

Enjoy a piece (or 2) of sugar-free gum

Yes, you can chew gum and protect your teeth—as long as the gum is sugarless. According to The American Dental Association (ADA), chewing sugar-free gum can increase the flow of saliva, which can lower plaque acid, strengthen teeth and reduce tooth decay.5

Healthy food and drink = healthier mouth

What you eat and drink can have a direct impact on your oral health. To learn more about making your mouth happier, check out how long you should brush your teeth.


  1. “Effect of chewing an apple on dental plaque removal and on salivary bacterial viability,” The National Center for Biotechnology Information, last accessed October 30, 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6051571/, opens new window.
  2. “Best and Worst Foods for Your Teeth,” Health.com, last accessed October 30, 2020, https://www.health.com/condition/oral-health/best-and-worst-foods-for-your-teeth, opens new window.
  3. “Dentists say these are the 10 best and worst drinks for your teeth,” Business Insider, last accessed October 20, 2020, https://www.businessinsider.com/dentists-say-these-are-the-best-and-worst-drinks-for-your-teeth-2018-5, opens new window.
  4. “Green tea: A boon for periodontal and general health,” The National Center for Biotechnology Information, last accessed November 2, 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3459493/, opens new window.
  5. “Chewing Gum,” The American Dental Association, last accessed November 2, 2020, https://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/chewing-gum, opens new window.