Smiles for Nutrition

Jan 5 / CATEGORY: Nutrition

Estimated Read Time: 2 minutes 19 seconds 

“You’re never fully dressed without a smile.”  Want to learn how you can keep those pearly whites sparkling? Read on for nutrition tips and tricks to help maintain good oral health. While brushing and flossing is the foundation for great oral hygiene, your food intake also plays a large role in your oral health.

Nutrition and oral health work together

What you eat directly impacts the health of your oral cavity (teeth, gums, etc.) and based on the status of your oral health, what you can eat (i.e., chewing difficulty, too hard, etc.) is impacted. Many foods are correlated with optimum oral health. By increasing the amount of these foods in your diet, your oral health can improve or continue to be maintained at a high level.

Calcium, phosphorous, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin D.

These critical nutrients work to promote strong teeth and bone, and a high fiber diet further promotes good oral health.
Meal ideas that help promote good oral health:

  • -Yogurt with fruit and granola of choice
  • -Vegetarian bean chili
  • -Kale salad topped with other veggies and chickpeas
  • -Oatmeal or overnight oats made with a fortified milk (Ca and Vit D) and toppings of choice
  • -Apples with nut butter of choice

While there are many foods that contribute to good oral health, other foods can cause a decline in oral health when consumed in high quantities. Refined and added sugars are a common ingredient that can lead to poorer oral health outcomes resulting in risk of tooth decay (cavities/dental caries) and bad breath.

For example, refined sugars or high amounts of carbohydrates ferment and feed bacteria in the oral cavity that release an acid by-product. This acid by-product as well as inherently acidic foods and beverages (soft drinks, coffee, citrus fruits, etc.) in the diet influence aspects of your oral health.
The frequency in which these more acidic foods or drinks are consumed, the pattern of when you consume them, and the amount of time that acid interacts with your teeth contribute to dental erosion, cavities, and bad breath which in turn causes a decline in oral health.

It is important to maintain good oral health because it will help prevent decay and damage in teeth, which helps you keep a beautiful smile. Good oral health management also helps prevent the development of both oral and non-oral infections in the body.

The best way to achieve good oral health is by:

-Eating a balanced diet


-Limiting alcohol

-Using a toothpaste that contains fluoride

-Visiting your dentist at least 1x per year

Eating a balanced diet that includes the 5 major food groups – fruit, veggies, protein, dairy, and grains – provides you with the essential nutrients to achieve your best possible oral and overall health.

Want to incorporate some of these pro-dental foods into your diet? Schedule a 60-minute initial nutrition session or a free nutrition speed session with RecSports’ registered dietitian and certified intuitive eating counselor.

This post was co-written by:

Jessie Furman, MS, RDN, LD/N and Rachel Rosenthal

Jessie is a Registered Dietitian and Assistant Director for Fitness & Wellness at University of Florida’s Department of Recreational Sports where she does individual nutrition counseling and coaching with the UF community. Follow her on Instagram for more nutrition tidbits.

Rachel is a 4th-year UF Pre-professional Biology student and Program Assistant with Nutrition Services at the Department of Recreational Sports.