Oral & Vision Health Blog

What is the Impact of Your Diet on Your Gums?

We all know that our diet can influence diabetes and heart disease, but do you know the impact of your diet on your gums?


Sugar is one of the major culprits in our diets. Sugar helps create an ideal environment for the bacteria that cause dental caries, or cavities. The bacteria creates an acid that begins to eat through the enamel of the teeth and causes irritation to the gum tissue. As the gum tissue becomes inflamed and swollen, it moves away from the source of irritation. 

As the gum recedes, you become a more likely candidate for bone loss. This periodontitis and bone loss is the most frequent cause of tooth loss in adults.

Vitamins and Minerals

The vitamins and minerals necessary for bone health are also necessary for dental health.

  • Calcium not only strengthens the bones of the lower jawbone and the maxilla (facial bones that hold the upper teeth), but it helps harden the enamel. This makes it more difficult for bacteria to eat into the tooth. 
    • You can find great sources of calcium in milk and dairy products, as well as leafy greens, and various types of nuts and seeds. 
  • Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and boosts bone mineral density.
    • Look for Vitamin D-rich foods like fish (salmon, tuna, and herring to name a few), egg yolks, and even orange juice. You can also take a step outside and absorb some sunlight too!
  • Potassium also improves bone mineral density and protects the calcium in your bones and teeth.
    • Bananas are one way to go if you're looking for a potassium boost. You can also try avocados, coconut water, and sweet potatoes.
  • Phosphorous and Vitamin K are other substances that help with bone health.
    • Up your intake of lentils, legumes, nuts, dark leafy greens, and proteins to up your bone health.

Now we've got bone health covered, let's ensure that our teeth have a good environment to grow into. In addition to bone health, these other vitamins play a crucial role in the health of your gums.

  • Vitamin C helps keep your gums and the other soft tissues of your mouth strong and healthy. It also helps protect you against the early stages of gum disease and keeps your teeth tight in their sockets.
    • We know some citrus fruits, broccoli, and berries could have you coasting a Vitamin C sufficient wave. You know what else? Corn! Who doesn't love it? Just make sure you floss afterward, for peak gum health, and to dislodge some of those kernels.
  • Vitamin A helps your mucous membranes stay healthy, preventing dry mouth and allowing quicker oral healing.
    • The common theme is green. Incorporate spinach into your diet for not just a powerful punch of Vitamin A, but some iron too! Throw some more Vitamin A-rich foods like mangoes, grapefruit, and pumpkin in a blender and you have an A+ smoothie.

As you can see, the foods you eat play a significant role in maintaining a happy, healthy mouth and overall wellness. To truly stick with it, it has to be more than diet, but making lifestyle changes, no matter how small, to best take care of your smile and overall health. In addition to keeping up with your nutrition, don’t forget to brush your teeth, floss, and visit your dentist regularly!

A Decade Without Dental Care Infographic