National Nutrition Month for Great Oral Health

We’ve talked a lot lately about how oral health impacts the rest of your body. Lost teeth can impact cognitive health, gum disease can affect heart health, and oral health can even make a difference for your eyes! But the relationship goes the other way, too. Healthy choices you make for your body can improve your oral health, too! March is National Nutrition Month, and we want you to know how your nutrition can help you achieve great oral health.

Eating Habits Make a Difference

One of the most obvious links between nutrition and oral health is how you use your teeth. After all, foods and beverages come into direct contact with your teeth and gums every day!

Starchy Snacking Can Spell Trouble

Every time you eat, your mouth becomes more acidic. It takes about twenty minutes for the pH in your mouth to get back to neutral, which is the healthiest state for your teeth. Many of us have started working from home during the pandemic, and it looks like things might stay that way. While that might mean a more pleasant work life, it also means many of us are snacking throughout the day. Frequent snacking means you’re creating an acidic environment that can damage your teeth over time.

Starchy and sugary foods create more acidity as the carbohydrates break down in your mouth, relative to other foods like lean proteins. While most of us are aware of the danger sugar can pose for our teeth, many people aren’t aware that starches like potato chips and crackers break down in just the same way. This also applies to sweet beverages and sports drinks as well! So if you’re sipping coffee with sugar or milk, be aware it may put you at higher risk for cavities.

Fiber Is Great for Your Health and Helps Clean Your Teeth!

We all know leafy greens and fresh produce are great for your health. National Nutrition Month activities focus heavily on teaching people ways to incorporate more fruits and veggies into their diets. But did you know munching on fibrous foods is also great for your teeth and gums?

As you chew high fiber foods, the roughage can scrape away plaque and bacteria, giving you a boost to your brushing as you eat. Chewing fibrous foods also helps to stimulate saliva flow, which is an essential part of great oral health. To incorporate more fiber into your diet, think of greens, apples, celery, carrots, and nuts.

 Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate!

It’s become a bit tongue-in-cheek on social media, but the push for better hydration habits is a great way to boost your oral health and overall wellness. Drinking water after eating helps to cleanse sugars from the mouth, which helps keep bacterial levels under control. Good hydration can also help to combat bad breath and discomfort from dryness.

Most importantly, hydration also supports adequate saliva levels. As mentioned above, saliva is a cornerstone of good oral health. Saliva not only coats your soft tissues to protect against discomfort and inflammation. It also coats your teeth in healthy minerals, which helps to fight cavities. If you take any medications, and especially if you take more than one medication, you may be at higher risk for dryness. Talk to your dentist about products that can help alleviate dry mouth, and be sure to drink plenty of water!

Nutrients That Boost Oral Health

Beyond just how often you eat and what types of foods you choose, getting a few key nutrients can also make all the difference for your oral health.

Key Vitamins for Great Gums

Vitamins boost your immune system and help your whole body work its best. But there are a few specific vitamins that are especially beneficial for your oral health.

Vitamin C always takes the place of honor when we talk about tooth-friendly vitamins. That’s because vitamin C not only helps to boost your immune system, it also improves gum health. Vitamin C supports the blood vessels and connective tissue that keep your teeth in place. It can also combat inflammation, such as that caused by gum disease. Fortunately, it’s also easy to find in plenty of fruits and veggies!

Vitamin D gets another honorable mention when it comes to nutrition for oral health. Vitamin D is specifically important because it helps your body absorb and use calcium, an essential mineral for strong teeth and bones. Most dairy products have plenty of vitamin D. But Floridians get an additional boost since we get plenty of sunshine throughout the year.

B vitamins like niacin and riboflavin also fight inflammation and can help prevent and heal mouth sores. Vitamin K promotes healing and blocks substances that break down bone. Vitamin A keeps mucous membranes healthy and fights dry mouth symptoms.

Minerals to Keep Teeth Strong

Minerals take on special significance when it comes to dental health. Obviously we all think of calcium when it comes to strong teeth, but that’s not the only essential mineral! Phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium all help support bone health and strong teeth as well. They show up naturally in your saliva, which is why adequate saliva is so important!

Fluoride is another naturally occurring mineral that is especially important for strong teeth. It’s so important, in fact, that dental products frequently contain it as a daily supplement to fight decay. However, it also appears in many of the foods and drinks you consume, and many cities add it to the water supply. Ask your hygienist how to get an extra fluoride boost at your next cleaning!

Surprising Oral Health Allies

There are a few surprising foods and drinks that help protect your oral health! You may expect your dental team here at Lake Baldwin Dental to discourage you from enjoying these, but they’re actually great oral health allies.

Chewing Gum

Wouldn’t chewing gum be a bad habit? As long as you choose a sugar-free option, gum can actually be a great oral health support! Chewing sugar-free gum between meals helps to cleanse your mouth, remove starches and sugars, and stimulate saliva. Use caution if you suffer from jaw pain or stiffness, of course. If possible, seek out an option with xylitol, a type of sugar that actively fights decay.

Most surprisingly, many orthodontists now recommend gum chewing for patients in braces! Careful chewing of sugar free gum can help relieve the discomfort and pressure from orthodontic treatment and may actually help your teeth move!


Okay, wait. Raisins are sweet and sticky. Obviously they’re bad for your teeth and would lead to cavities, right? Surprisingly, raisins may actually fight decay! Raisins contain specific phytonutrients that inhibit bacterial growth and protect your teeth. They also contain potent antioxidants that support gum health, too! These benefits may also extend to another grape-based product: red wine. More research needs to be done, but so far results are looking promising.


We’ve gone in depth about how tea helps your teeth before, but it bears repeating. Enjoying tea, while it may stain your teeth, offers plenty of great oral health benefits. Not least of which is that many types of tea contain naturally occurring fluoride. Be cautious about drinking beverages that are so hot they may burn your lips or tongue, of course.

Dr. Dunn and the whole team at Lake Baldwin Dental believe in the value of supporting every aspect of our patients’ health. We hope you’ll take a moment to consider how your nutrition habits may also support your oral health! As always, we are here for any questions you may have and are happy to help you on your journey to better health in all aspects. Keep smiling, Orlando!

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