Everyone knows that great dental health is about more than just regular visits to the dentist. Healthy teeth require a consistent dental care regimen at home. Good habits include things like brushing and flossing, but your teeth’s needs extend beyond the bathroom sink. The proper diet is crucial to protecting that smile.

Modern eating habits can quickly become unhealthy for a number of reasons, but one of the worst culprits behind damaged teeth is sugar. A diet that includes a high rate of sugar consumption (especially refined sugar) typically yields negative effects on a patient’s teeth, as the sugar feeds harmful bacteria and accelerates tooth decay. Acidic products (like large quantities of citrus fruit and soft drinks) can also be particularly damaging to your teeth.

The good news is that there are many foods you can enjoy that actually have a positive effect on your dental health. Add these five foods to your diet to better encourage a healthy oral environment.


Butter is an unlikely product to find on most lists of “healthy” foods. However, this soft dairy product is rich in both calcium and conjugated linoleic acid, which can boost your immune system. Butter is also often loaded with fat-soluble vitamins, including A, D, and E. If your butter has been made from milk that was produced by grass-fed vows, it can also be a nice source of the vitamin K2. When you do add butter to your meal, just be sure to do so in moderation. It is still high in fat content.


Cloves have enjoyed a long reputation through history as a healthy spice, thanks in large part to their antimicrobial properties. As a fantastic source of eugenol and oleic acid, they are surprisingly helpful in keeping your mouth healthy. You can use cloves in a wide variety of recipes, especially those that call for a strong, spiced sweetness. They are common in curries and soups. You can even use cloves as a sugar replacement in different desserts.

Green Tea

Another product with well-established health benefits, green tea is rich in antioxidants and offers many antibacterial properties. The tea’s low acidity also benefits tooth enamel by encouraging remineralization. A daily cup of green tea is a great habit to embrace if you are interested in maintaining strong, healthy teeth. There are also powered products you can consider, which are easily added to treats like yogurts or smoothies.


Thanks to curcumin, turmeric’s primary active ingredient, this spice provides excellent antimicrobial benefits. In fact, turmeric is well known for its ability to remedy oral health problems, especially in India, where it has been popular for thousands of years. Turmeric is easily added to most anything, but it works fantastically with meats and curries.


Garlic helps fight cavity-causing bacteria, due in large part to its high levels of the compound allicin. You can add garlic to almost any savory recipe. Be wary of eating too much of it, because while it is delicious, garlic does sometimes lead to bad breath. However, even just a small amount of garlic extract added to a mouthwash at home is sufficient for enjoyed all of its healthy benefits.

About the Author

Dr. Harris has been a practicing dentist since 2005. In 2012, he received his Master’s of Science in Dentistry and a certificate in Endodontics. He founded East Coast Endodontics shortly after receiving his master’s degree. He also currently holds a part-time position as a Clinical Assistant Professor for the Endodontics department at Virginia Commonwealth University. View his full bio.