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Healthy Eating for Healthy Teeth and Bones – Dental Nutrition

November 16, 2016

Nutrients for Strong Bones and Healthy Teeth

Guest Blog by Daniela Neman, RD/CSO/CDN

Daniela Neman - Healhty Teeth - Dental Care - Costa Mesa Dentist - Best Dentist Orange CountySo your dentist told you to brush, floss and rinse- what’s next?  While good oral hygiene and routine checkups are an absolute must for healthy teeth, this article is for patient superstars looking to the next steps to rockin’ dental and, surprisingly, bone health.

There are three key nutrients to support dental and bone health, ready?

Here we go!

Nutrient #1: Calcium

Yep, you guessed it!  Calcium is a mineral that helps build and maintain strong bones and teeth- in fact, 99% of calcium is stored in these two structures.  Our bodies do not make calcium, but instead rely on our diets to get the nutrient- the best sources of which are below for healthy teeth.  Spoiler alert: dairy is not the only calcium containing food.

  • Dark leafy green vegetables like kale, broccoli and bok choy.
  • Dairy foods like milk, yogurt and cheese

*Choose unflavored or lightly sweetened yogurt (<12 g sugar) for optimal dental health.

  • Fortified soy or nut milks like Silk Unsweetened Soy Milk or Almond Milk

*Choose unsweetened varieties for optimal dental health

*Fortified dairy will include “calcium carbonate” listed under ingredients.

  • Fish with soft bones like sardines and canned salmon
  • Almonds

Nutrient #2: Vitamin D

Now that we know calcium is important, let’s go a step further- our bodies NEED vitamin D to absorb calcium.  Vitamin D is actually not found in many foods {safe sun exposure is an excellent source- speak to your doc}, but here are some of the best food sources to incorporate into your diet for healthy teeth.

  • Fatty fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel
  • Fish liver oils
  • Fortified milk and nut milks

*almost all milk in the USA is fortified with vitamin D (meaning someone added it in), while other dairy products are not necessarily fortified.  Fortified dairy and milk list “Vitamin D3” under ingredients.

  • Fortified breakfast cereals (*same as milk, look for “Vitamin D3” under ingredients)

Small amounts of vitamin D are also found in egg yolks, beef liver and mushrooms.

Nutrient #3: Phosphorus

The least glorified nutrient of the 3, but important none the less, is phos!  The main function of phosphorus is to form teeth and bones.  After calcium, this nutrient is the second most abundant nutrient in the body- so it’s no wonder it can be spotted in so many common foods.  Best sources of the phos for healthy teeth?  See them below.

  • Dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese

*Remember: unsweetened or lightly sweetened yogurts (<12g sugar) are optimal for dental health

  • Meats like beef, pork and organ meats
  • Seafood like salmon, sardines, scallops and mackerel
  • Nuts and seeds like pumpkin and sunflower seeds, brazil nuts and almonds

Now that’s a wrap!  For my overachievers– which foods will you include on your next shopping list to take your dental and bone health to the next level?  And of course, always listen to your dentist when he says- brush, floss and rinse—I promise I will too!

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Sources and additional reading:

*disclaimer: Information in this article is general in nature and should not take the place of medical advice.  Please consult your doctor(s) to address any questions or concerns you may have.

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