Try This, Not That: A Dietary Guide For Oral Health

Key Takeaways

  • Citrus, alcohol, and sugar can damage your teeth and increase your risk for dental problems
  • A diet rich in calcium and vitamins A, B12, C, D, and E can protect your teeth from cavities and promote good oral health.
  • Dairy products, fibrous fruits and veggies, green tea, and sugar free gum support healthy teeth and gums.

The things you eat influence your oral health in positive and negative ways. While some foods may prevent cavities and help protect your teeth, others can do the opposite. Here are some tips to help you understand foods that are good for teeth, and foods that are bad.

Foods You Should Avoid

Excessive Citrus 

Citric acid is what gives citrus foods that zing we all love, but it can wear down your teeth. Lemons are the worst culprit, potentially causing the most erosion compared to limes, grapefruit and other citrus fruits1. They are healthy in moderation, but consuming them too frequently can cause damage to your teeth2.  

Sugary Foods & Drinks 

Dental professionals and parents alike have long discouraged children from consuming sweets and soft drinks. While they may bring a smile to your face with their sweetness, the sugar in these foods and drinks increase your risk for cavities—especially for children3.



When it comes to drinking alcohol responsibly, it’s important to consider the effects it may have on your teeth, too. Drinking alcohol significantly increases your risk for gum disease, which puts you at risk for other health issues4. Not to mention, no matter how beautiful the red wine looks in your glass, its stains don’t look as great on your teeth.  

Looking for an alcoholic beverage that’s better for your teeth? You should know that they all carry some risk. However, lighter colored alcohol can help you avoid stains. On the other hand, the antioxidants in red wine may prevent heart disease (along with staining your teeth). Avid red wine drinkers can use izzo’s Polishing Cup Head and Polishing Paste to gently remove stains after they indulge5. If you choose to consume alcohol, make sure you do it in moderation to reduce your risk for cavities, tooth loss, and gum disease. 

Foods Your Teeth Will Love

Ever wonder which foods and drinks can help improve the look and health of your teeth? There are many to choose from, each containing vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for healthy teeth and gums, and other parts of your body!. Calcium and vitamin D promote healthy teeth and bones, while vitamins B12, C, D, and E prevent cavities and tooth loss6. The following foods are probably already part of your diet, and they’re easy to eat more often to support a healthy smile.  

Dairy Products 

For decades, public health campaigns have encouraged parents to give their children milk, cheese, and other dairy products to help support strong bones because they’re a great source of calcium and vitamin D. Since both teeth and bones need calcium, it would make sense that consuming dairy would have a protective effect. Studies show that milk, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy options protect your teeth from decay and cavities7, 8. So, add a glass of milk to your next meal or choose cheese or yogurt for your midday snack to help protect your pearly whites! 

Fruits & Vegetables 

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but it might also prevent frequent visits to your dentist! While fruits and vegetables are great for digestion, the fibrous composition also helps clean your teeth as you chew.  

If that wasn’t enough, they also contain vitamin C and increase saliva production, which helps repair damage caused by bacteria9, 10

Green Tea 

The warm comfort of freshly brewed green tea can lift your spirits on the coldest of days. It also has anti-fungal properties that can kill yeast, which may cause cavities and tooth decay11, 12! Drinking it regularly will have others green with envy over your pearly whites. 

Sugar Free Gum 

The next time you pop a stick of sugar-free gum in your mouth, remember it does more than freshen your breath. Chewing sugar-free gum has numerous benefits. It increases the amount of healthy bacteria in your mouth and if it contains xylitol, it does much more13! Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is a leading alternative sweetener for sugar-free gum. It reduces the amount of plaque on your teeth, decreases swelling in your gums, and prevents cavities14. Try chewing it after meals to promote good oral health and get that clean, minty feel. 

Choose Your Diet Carefully

Being mindful of the foods you eat can help protect your teeth from erosion, decay, and other dental worries. A healthy diet is a great complement to a healthy oral care routine. Use izzo’s 4-in-1 Oral Care System in between meals to put your best smile forward everyday!


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  2. Bassiouny, M. A. (2014). Clinical observations of dental erosion associated with citrus diet and intake methods. General Dentistry, 62(1), 49–55. Retrieved from
  3. Lin, P., Lee, Y., Hsu, L., Chang, H., & Chi, L. (2021). Association between sugary drinks consumption and dental caries incidence among Taiwanese schoolchildren with mixed dentition. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology.
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  5. Castaldo, Narváez, Izzo, Graziani, Gaspari, Minno and Ritieni (2019). Red Wine Consumption and Cardiovascular Health. Molecules, 24(19), p.3626.
  6. Cagetti, M.G., Wolf, T.G., Tennert, C., Camoni, N., Lingström, P. and Campus, G. (2020). The Role of Vitamins in Oral Health. A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(3), p.938.
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  9. The Best and Worst Foods for Your Teeth - Health Encyclopedia - University of Rochester Medical Center. (2019). Retrieved from website:
  10. Eat Fruits and Veggies For A Healthy Smile | College of Dentistry | University of Illinois at Chicago. (n.d.). Retrieved from website:
  11. Farhad Mollashahi, N., Bokaeian, M., Farhad Mollashahi, L., & Afrougheh, A. (2015). Antifungal Efficacy of Green Tea Extract against Candida Albicans Biofilm on Tooth Substrate. Journal of Dentistry (Tehran, Iran), 12(8), 592–598. Retrieved from
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  13. Fernando, J. R., Butler, C. A., Adams, G. G., Mitchell, H. L., Dashper, S. G., Escobar, K., … Reynolds, E. C. (2019). The prebiotic effect of CPP-ACP sugar-free chewing gum. Journal of Dentistry, 91, 103225.
  14. Gasmi Benahmed, A., Gasmi, A., Arshad, M., Shanaida, M., Lysiuk, R., Peana, M., … Bjørklund, G. (2020). Health benefits of xylitol. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 104(17), 7225–7237.