Avoiding sugar for healthy teeth

Smart Snacks Help Keep Your Teeth Cavity-Free

Cavities start when the hard surface of the tooth, or tooth enamel, breaks down as a result of exposure to harmful acids. Bacteria in the mouth interact with food left on the teeth to produce those acids. Watching what you eat can help prevent this sticky situation.

Foods without a lot of sugar and fat are better for your teeth — as well as your entire body. Try replacing candy bars and other snacks with the following options:

  • Fresh fruit and raw vegetables

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Whole-grain crackers, cereals, and breads

  • Low-fat or nonfat yogurt, cheese, and milk

Here are some other ways you can reduce your risk of cavities:

  • Limit between-meal snacks and eat a variety of foods in a well-balanced diet.

  • Eat carbohydrates with other types of food. For example, eat your crackers with cheese.

  • Avoid foods that cling to your teeth, including soft, sweet, or sticky foods like cakes and candies, and beverages high in sugar.

  • Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth moist.

  • Brush gently, at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Pay special attention to the gum line.

  • Clean between your teeth at least once a day with dental floss or an interdental cleaner.

  • Visit your dentist regularly.



“Decay.” Mouth Healthy, American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/d/decay.Accessed 2013.

“Diet and Tooth Decay.” Journal of the American Dental Association. April 2002, vol. 133, p. 527. http://www.ada.org/sections/scienceAndResearch/pdfs/patient_13.pdf. Accessed 2013.

“Snack Smart for Healthy Teeth!” National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health. http://www.nidr.nih.gov/health/pubs/snaksmrt/main.htm. Accessed 2013.

“Brushing Your Teeth.” Mouth Healthy, American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/brushing-your-teeth. Accessed 2013.

"Flossing." Mouth Healthy, American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/f/flossing.Accessed 2013.