Plant-based food

Can changes in your diet prevent tooth loss?

Periodontitis, also known as gum disease, is one of the leading causes of tooth loss today. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research defines periodontitis as “an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place”, and it’s typically caused by “poor brushing and flossing habits that allow plaque—a sticky film of bacteria—to build up on the teeth and harden.”

Generally, when people think about their diet and how it affects their teeth, it’s likely they only think of it with consideration to cavities. But what about the role of diet in periodontitis? An abstract published by the National Library of Medicine reveals that poor dieting promotes periodontal inflammation. In other words, given the link between inflammation and periodontitis, it would appear that changes in your diet could, indeed, prevent tooth loss.

Below we share four diet tips to help prevent tooth loss and tooth decay:

1. Reduce Sugar Consumption

Excessive sugar intake is a leading cause of tooth decay. As harmful bacteria feed on sugars in the mouth, they produce acids that erode enamel, causing cavities and potential tooth loss. Reducing sugar in your diet, especially in sugary snacks, sodas, and desserts, can help prevent tooth decay and preserve your teeth.

2. Increase Your Intake of Fiber

Consuming fibrous foods stimulates saliva flow and aids in the natural cleaning of the mouth. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains provide dietary fiber that promotes saliva production, which helps neutralize acids, remineralize teeth, and wash away food particles and bacteria. Additionally, chewing fibrous foods can help remove plaque and prevent tooth decay.

3. Avoid saturated fats

Diets high in saturated fat and cholesterol can negatively affect our teeth. Cholesterol and saturated fats contribute to inflammation in the body, including the gums, increasing the risk of periodontitis. The gums and jawbone are weakened by inflammation, which makes them more susceptible to decay and tooth loss. A diet high in saturated fat increases oxidative stress and inflammation. Furthermore, diets high in saturated fats and cholesterol often lack essential vitamins and minerals necessary for optimal dental health.

4. Eat Nutrient-Rich, Plant-Based Foods

Eating a plant-based diet has also been shown to be better for our teeth. A varied diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes that are rich in essential nutrients, including vitamins C and D, calcium, and phosphorus, which contribute to strong teeth and gums.

What’s more, a study of 200 patients — 100 vegetarians and 100 non-vegetarians — revealed that those eating a vegetarian diet had “better periodontal conditions (less inflammation signs, less periodontal damage, and better dental home care).”

Another study showed that after a year of eating a plant-based diet, individuals showed significant reductions in periodontal pocket depth and gingival inflammation, as well as a 75 percent decrease in inflammatory mediators between the gums and teeth, which are thought to contribute to periodontal disease.


Remember, prevention is always better than treatment, and diet is a powerful tool for fighting periodontitis. Therefore, prioritizing your diet and safeguarding your smile will help you maintain good oral health.

You can learn more about probiotics and bacteria strains in our Learning Lab.
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