Top 7 Foods That Can Worsen Your Gum Health

Aug 21, 2023 | Patient Tips

Healthy gums play a crucial role in maintaining good oral hygiene. They provide a strong foundation for your teeth and help prevent gum disease. While brushing and flossing are essential for gum health, your diet also plays a significant role. Certain foods can worsen your gum health and contribute to gum disease. Let’s check out the top 7 foods that can worsen your gum health. Let’s not forget about Flossing for Kids 101!

1. Sugary Foods and Drinks

Sugary foods and drinks are not only harmful to your waistline but also detrimental to your gum health. Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugar and produce acid, which can erode tooth enamel and irritate the gums. This can lead to cavities and gingivitis if left unchecked. It’s important to limit your intake of sugary foods and opt for healthier alternatives like fruits or unsweetened beverages.

2. Acidic Foods and Drinks

Acidic foods and drinks, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, and carbonated beverages, can also contribute to gum problems. The acid can wear down the enamel on your teeth and irritate the gums, making them more susceptible to infection. If you do consume acidic foods or drinks, it’s best to rinse your mouth with water afterward to minimize the impact on your gum health.

3. Sticky and Chewy Foods

Sticky and chewy foods like caramel, toffee, and dried fruits can stick to your teeth and gums, providing a breeding ground for bacteria. These foods can be particularly harmful if they are not properly cleaned from the mouth. Make sure to brush and floss thoroughly after consuming sticky or chewy foods to maintain good gum health.

4. Processed and Junk Foods

Processed and junk foods are often high in sugar, unhealthy fats, and artificial additives. These foods not only contribute to overall poor health but can also negatively impact your gum health. Opting for a diet rich in whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains can help support healthy gums.

5. Alcohol

Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to dry mouth, which can increase the risk of gum disease. Saliva plays a vital role in flushing away bacteria and maintaining the pH balance in the mouth. When there is not enough saliva, harmful bacteria can thrive and cause gum problems. It’s important to moderate your alcohol intake and stay hydrated to keep your gums healthy.

6. Coffee and Tea

While a morning cup of coffee or tea can be an enjoyable way to start the day, excessive consumption can stain your teeth and contribute to gum issues. Coffee and tea contain tannins, which can promote the growth of bacteria and cause gum inflammation. Drinking these beverages in moderation and practicing good oral hygiene can help mitigate the effects on your gum health.

7. Hard Foods

Biting into hard foods like ice, popcorn kernels, or hard candy can potentially damage your teeth and gums. These foods can cause microfractures in tooth enamel and irritate the gums, leading to gum recession or gum infections. It’s best to avoid biting into extremely hard foods and opt for softer alternatives to protect your gum health.

Can certain foods hurt your gums?

  • Bread, crackers, and chips (simple carbohydrates that can stick to gums)
  • Foods made from refined white flour (e.g., white bread, crackers)
  • Soda and sports drinks 
  • Coffee, tea, and alcohol 
  • Acidic juices and citrus fruits 
  • Sticky candy and dried fruit 
  • Potato chips 

Top 7 Foods that Help Heal Gums

Maintaining healthy gums is crucial for overall oral health, and certain foods can promote gum healing and prevent gum disease. In this post, we will explore the top foods that can help heal gums and keep them in optimal condition.

1. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are packed with essential vitamins and minerals that promote gum health. These greens are rich in vitamin C, which helps strengthen blood vessels and boost the production of collagen, a key component of healthy gum tissue. Incorporate leafy greens into your diet by adding them to salads, smoothies, or sautéing them as a side dish.

2. Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and lemons are excellent sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C is known for its antioxidant properties, which help combat inflammation and support gum healing. Citrus fruits stimulate saliva production, which aids in naturally cleansing the mouth and removing harmful bacteria. Enjoy citrus fruits as a snack or add their juice to water for a refreshing drink.

3. Berries

Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are not only delicious but also beneficial for gum health. They are rich in antioxidants that help protect gum tissue from damage caused by free radicals. The high vitamin C content in berries also aids in collagen production and gum healing. Add a handful of berries to your breakfast cereal, yogurt, or enjoy them on their own as a healthy snack.

4. Green Tea

Green tea is known for its numerous health benefits, including promoting gum health. It contains catechins, which are powerful antioxidants that can reduce inflammation and fight bacteria associated with gum disease. Drinking a cup of green tea daily can help maintain healthy gums. Opt for unsweetened green tea for maximum benefits.

5. Yogurt

Yogurt is a great source of probiotics, beneficial bacteria that can help balance the oral microbiome and promote gum health. Probiotics in yogurt can reduce the levels of harmful bacteria in the mouth, which can contribute to gum disease. Choose plain, unsweetened yogurt with live and active cultures for the best results.

6. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, walnuts, and flaxseeds, are rich in essential nutrients like vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce gum inflammation and promote healing. Incorporate nuts and seeds into your diet by adding them to salads, smoothies, or enjoying them as a snack.

7. Garlic

Garlic has potent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can benefit gum health. It can help combat the bacteria responsible for gum disease and reduce inflammation in the gums. Incorporate garlic into your meals by adding it to sauces, stir-fries, or roasted vegetables.

More Blog Posts to Check Out 

Is your child struggling with their gum health? Go ahead and set up your child’s dental cleaning visit at your preferred location. Check out the Topping Dental locations to see how we can serve you and all of your dental needs. 

Questions to Ask Your Dentist at Your Next Visit

Questions to Ask Your Dentist at Your Next Visit

Visiting your dentist isn't just a chance for them to check on your teeth and oral health. It's also a great opportunity for you to ask questions and learn more about caring for your teeth. Dentists and other dental professionals (such as hygienists and dental nurses)...

read more