Food Matters
All about fresh, flavorful food

10 Best Foods to Eat for Your Dental Health

When you think about how food affects your dental health, you can come up with a lot of bad foods. Things that are high in sugar are going to cause cavities and things like dark soda will stain your teeth. Those are the obvious foods you can avoid when trying to improve your dental health, but there are some foods you should try to eat, too.

Depending on what you eat, good foods can improve the health of your teeth and gums. Not all of them are bad, so do your research before you head out to the grocery store and discover what you can eat to make your mouth healthier and your smile even bigger.

woman smiling as she bites into apple
Photo by Adobe Stock/Glamy

1. Yogurt

You’ve probably seen commercials that say yogurt is good for digestive regulation. The same thing that causes it to get your system moving is what also makes it so great for your teeth. The good bacteria in it will slow cavity growth, so if you get a couple packs on sale the next time you’re at the store, you can help your body in two different ways just by eating one food product.

2. Cheese

Anyone who loves cheese knows that it’s almost impossible to not add to a dish, which may end up being a good thing for your teeth. Calcium is known to be good for your bones because it strengthens them, so it’s easy to guess that it’ll also strengthen your teeth. This is true, but cheese also contains whey proteins that build up enamel. Next time you make a sandwich, put on an extra slice of cheese. For your teeth, of course!

3. Apples

Foods can not only strengthen your teeth — they can whiten them, too. There’s no need to buy expensive whitening strips or sign up for highly priced procedures when you can just add an extra food to your grocery list. Apples are great at removing stains because they contain malic acid. This acid increases saliva production, which lifts stains. The best part is that you can get any kind of apple you like.

4. Leafy Greens

If apples aren’t your thing, you can still give your teeth some help by eating lots of leafy greens. Foods like kale contain high amounts of fiber, which help your teeth first and your body second. Fibrous foods most often require a large amount of chewing, which stimulates saliva and will do the same thing as apples — whiten your teeth.

5. Celery

Kids love to eat celery with peanut butter and maybe even raisins, but somewhere along the way as you grow up, that’s a snack that gets pushed to the side. Turns out, it was helping your teeth all along. Celery is a naturally abrasive food, which means that while you’re chewing it, it massages your gums and cleans between your teeth. Both of these get rid of old bacteria that’s sat in your mouth all day, so consider snacking on celery more often than you usually do.

6. Carrots

Whether they’re baby carrots or regular sized ones cut into sticks or bite sized pieces for salad, carrots are a fantastic and affordable way to take care of your mouth. Sometimes called nature’s toothbrush, they cover your teeth with keratin as you chew, which prevents tooth decay. For older dental patients who might have been warned about the high potential for tooth decay, try eating carrots to help prevent that, or put them in a blender or juicer for those with more sensitive teeth.

7. Almonds

Like many other nuts, almonds contain calcium and iron, which are good for strengthening teeth that may have grown weaker with time. However, if you’re going to eat these for your dental health, make sure not to crack open whole almonds with your teeth. Doing so could cause damage that would take surgery to repair. Instead, buy a can of precracked almonds so you can enjoy a healthy snack on the go.

bowl of strawberries
Photo by Adobe Stock/xamtiw

8. Strawberries

Strawberries are great because they contain vitamin C and fiber. These are good for your teeth, but strawberries are also highly acidic. There are ways to eat strawberries without hurting your teeth that every strawberry fanatic should know. Washing the juice down with water and flossing to get the seeds out are just some ways you can protect your dental health without having to sacrifice a delicious snack.

9. Gum

When looking to gum to help out your mouth, the goal should be to chew a kind that’s sugar-free. Chewing gum will produce saliva the same way that chewing anything else would, so you’ll be able to easily clean your teeth without even thinking about it. You can even buy special gum that’s calorie-free and specifically made to whiten teeth.

10. Green Tea

Tea is another one of those drinks that stains your teeth, so many people try to avoid it. However, green tea won’t dye your teeth the way regular tea will because it has a lighter color. Plus, it kills bacteria that makes your breath smell and can reduce your chance of getting oral cancer. Just don’t put too much sugar in it when you try it out for the first time.

Finding foods that will help your dental health doesn’t have to be hard. First, you need to know what your mouth needs help with. Have your teeth grown weaker and more sensitive with time, or do you need to prevent any future cavities? Maybe you need more enamel or healthier gums. There are foods that can do all of that, even for people who have food allergies. No matter what you choose, as long as you do your research, you’ll find lots of options to snack on while you help your teeth.

All information and resources provided are based on the opinions and experiences of the author, unless otherwise noted. Information is intended to encourage readers to do their own research and come to their own conclusions, and should never substitute or replace the recommendations of a qualified healthcare provider. Always consult your physician before making changes to your diet, exercise, or general wellness plan, even when using holistic methods.

Harvesting Spruce Trees for Food and Medicine

While living in Alaska, I was surrounded by Black Spruce trees (picea mariana) and took delight in being able to harvest newly-formed tips from this tree. The Black Spruce can reach up to 80 feet and is found in the northern parts of North America, growing in muskegs, bogs, and bottomlands.

black spruce tree 

Alaskan Natives used the inner bark for tea, and the pitch to waterproof handmade baskets and seal their birch bark boats. The tree is now utilized for wood, pulp, fuel, Christmas trees, and other products.

Essential oil obtained from the tree is used in various methods for calming, opening the sinus passages, providing mental clarity, and as a disinfectant. The tips can be used to make an antimicrobial cream to help with skin issues or as an anti-inflammatory salve for muscle pain. A tea made from the tips has expectorant properties which can help with lung issues.

Spruce tips are very high in vitamin C and were used by Captain Cook to ward off scurvy. The tender tips can be harvested in the spring, summer, or anytime available and used as a food source in salads, soups, dressings, desserts, and beer.

close-up spruce branches with new tips

I used a recipe from The Boreal Herbal, by Beverly Gray, to make this delightful jelly that pairs well with crackers and cheese.

Black Spruce Jelly

Makes 3 - 8 oz. jars of jelly

• 4 cups spruce tips
• 4 cups water
• 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
• One package pectin
• 1-1/2 cups sugar (I used freshly squeezed lemon juice and organic evaporated sugar cane)

1. Add spruce tips to the water and simmer for 5 minutes. Set infusion aside too steep until it reaches room temperature.

2. Strain the tips from the infusion. There should be 3 cups of infusion.

3. Combine spruce tip infusion, lemon juice, and pectin, stir until dissolved.

4. Bring to a hard boil for one minute. Add sugar and stir until dissolved, then bring mixture to a hard boil for 1 minute or until mixture is ready to preserve.

5. Process the ingredients in jars according to fresh preserving instructions.

spruce jelly in jars

All information and resources provided are based on the opinions and experiences of the author, unless otherwise noted. Information is intended to encourage readers to do their own research and come to their own conclusions, and should never substitute or replace the recommendations of a qualified healthcare provider. Always consult your physician before making changes to your diet, exercise, or general wellness plan, even when using holistic methods.


Desiree Bell is a vegetarian, certified in herbal studies and aromatherapy. She is celebrating plants for crafts, décor, food, wellness, and pure enjoyment at Bontanical Lifestlye.