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How to make your mouth happy

GEHA | February 3, 2023

Good nutrition plays a key role in oral health.

Good oral health is vitally important to your overall health and well-being. Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease found in both children and adults in the United States.

Knowing how the foods you eat and drink affect your oral health can help you make good everyday choices. It’s also helpful to understand when and how to clean your teeth for your best smile.

Visiting your dentist regularly is an important part of staying healthy, but making informed choices between visits is the key to a healthy mouth.

To help you make good food choices, here are some tooth-friendly foods:

  • milk, hard cheese, plain yogurt
  • kale, spinach, apples and other fresh fruit and vegetables
  • eggs, fatty fish such as salmon
  • protein including meat, whole grains, nuts, sunflower seeds and beans

Limit these items to special occasions or mealtime:

  • sugary snacks
  • crackers, white bread, rice and pasta
  • acidic foods, such as citrus fruit or juice and sour candies
  • drinks high in sugar and citric acid, such as soda, fruit juice and energy drinks

Sugar combines with bacteria already present in your mouth to make an acid that pulls minerals away from your teeth, weakening enamel and leading to tooth decay. This acid can stay in your mouth for 20 minutes after your last bite, until your saliva can buffer the acid. To help reduce the acid in your mouth, rinse with water and stimulate saliva flow by chewing sugar-free gum.

Clean your teeth regularly to remove sticky plaque. The bacteria in plaque can cause disease and inflammation that can affect your whole body. Bad oral health can lead not only to dental cavities, but has been linked to heart disease, oral cancer and diabetes.

Brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and cleaning between your teeth with floss is the best way to keep your teeth clean and your mouth healthy. Visiting your dentist twice a year for professional cleanings also lets your dentist see if there are signs of other problems and recommend treatments. To find an in-network GEHA dentist near you, search using our Find Care tool.


“Diet and Dental Health.”, American Dental Association.
“Nutrition: What You Eat Affects Your Teeth.”, American Dental Association.
“Dental Caries (Tooth Decay).”, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, November, 2022.
“Everything You Need to Know about Dental and Oral Health.”, Healthline Media, 25 May, 2018.

Disclaimer: This information contained herein is for informational and educational purposes only. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice and if you have questions regarding a medical condition, regimen, or treatment you should always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider. Never disregard or delay seeking medical advice from a qualified medical professional because of information you have read herein.