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Healthy Mouth Nutrition

Need to strengthen your teeth and gums? Prepare meals that will provide the nutrients needed to do just that.

smile with healthy teeth and gums

Why A Healthy Mouth is Important

Oral health has been linked to health of the entire body. When the mouth isn't healthy, the body will suffer and vice versa.

People with diabetes have higher risk of periodontal disease (or gum disease). Periodontal disease caught early can be treated, albeit painfully, and reversed. However, gum disease left untreated cannot be reversed. This leads to tooth loss, bad breath, pain, and the inability to chew. It also impacts appearance, self-esteem, and speaking. Without teeth, nutrition is limited to purees and liquids, which often correlates with a decrease in quality of life.

On the other side of the coin, individuals with poor mouth nutrition and oral health are at higher risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Gums become highly susceptible to absorbing harmful bacteria, which then enters the bloodstream and can lead to these health issues.

Maintaining a healthy mouth is one of the first steps of good nutrition and overall health. Below is information on nutrients that can support strong teeth and gums.

Top Nutrients for Healthy Teeth and Gums

The three vitamins and minerals that contribute the most to good oral health and should be included in daily meals are:

  • Vitamin C

  • Calcium

  • Phosphorus

You can remember “CCP” for “Cooking for Cavity Prevention”.

Foods rich in Vitamin C include oranges, strawberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, papaya, leafy greens, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and red peppers.

Calcium can be found in milk, yogurt, broccoli, avocado, cheese, and leafy greens.

And Phosphorus-rich foods include whole wheat, bran, cottage and cheddar cheese, peanut butter, corn, broccoli, poultry, sunflower seeds, garlic, legumes, and nuts.

There is some overlap in foods containing these vitamins and minerals, which makes it easier to get all three nutrients in a meal.

Other nutrients beneficial for the mouth include:

  • Polyphenols- Polyphenols can be found in tea, coffee, dark chocolate, berries, plums, cherries, black olives, hazelnuts, and pecans. Polyphenols can help prevent bacterial growth and adhesion to teeth.

  • Vitamin A: Vitamin A is found in orange-colored foods like sweet potatoes, carrots, and cantaloupe. It is also found in leafy greens, red bell peppers, tomatoes, fish oils, milk, and eggs. Maintaining sufficient vitamin A in the diet can help prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and enamel erosion.

  • Vitamin D: Found in few foods, vitamin D is best absorbed from sunlight. It can also be found in eggs, fish, dairy, and fortified orange juice. It can help absorb calcium, prevent cavities, and strengthen teeth and gums.

  • Vitamin K: Vitamin K does the same jobs as vitamin D when it comes to oral health, but can be found in leafy greens, soybean oil, and Canola oil.

Some foods provide antibacterial cleansers for the mouth. These include coconut oil and cranberries.

Recipes that Promote a Healthy Mouth

Here are three recipes to get started on oral nutrition:

Vitamin C-rich ingredients: broccoli, red onions

Calcium-rich ingredient: broccoli

Phosphorus-rich ingredients: broccoli, walnuts

Vitamin C-rich ingredient: lemon juice

Calcium-rich ingredient: plain yogurt

Phosphorus-rich ingredient: garlic

Colleen's "Smouthie" Recipe:

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1 serving


  • 1 orange, peeled and seeded

  • 4 strawberries, tops cut-off

  • 3/4 cup kale

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt

  • Enough nut milk to fill blender (about 2 cups)


1. Put all ingredients in blender until well combined. Enjoy!

Vitamin C-rich ingredients: strawberries, orange

Calcium-rich ingredients: kale, plain yogurt, milk

Phosphorus-rich ingredients: almond or cashew milk

What to Eat After Dental Surgery

Sometimes oral health wanes and requires dental surgery. Despite the difficulty in eating after oral surgery, it's vital that nutrients are consumed to promote healing and prevent malnutrition. Here are 50 soft foods to consider after dental surgery.

For more nutrition support, make an online appointment with a Registered Dietitian at:


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