You probably already know that your diet contributes as much to the health of your teeth and gums as brushing, flossing and getting regular dental checkups. If you're only sticking to the standard fare recommended by dentists (e.g. calcium-containing products such as milk and yogurt), then you're missing out on a host of foods that can have a significantly positive impact on your oral health. Here are three that can help prevent tooth loss.

Green Tea

Originating in China, green tea is widely consumed throughout Asian countries and for good reason. This tea is packed with enzymes, amino acids, sterols, phytochemicals and a host of other beneficial substances that can help treat a variety of health problems including diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Studies indicate drinking a cup of unsweetened green tea every day may prevent tooth loss. A research study published in Preventative Medicine found that green tea contains a substance called catechins that have antimicrobial properties, which can reduce the amount of disease-causing bacteria in your mouth. Green tea also contains fluoride, which strengthens teeth.

The study looked at 25,000 Japanese people between the ages of 40 and 64 and found that those who drank at least one cup a day had a 19% and 13% (men and women, respectively) less chance of having fewer than 20 teeth.

When drinking green tea, it's important to consume it without any sugar, as the sweet substance actually feeds bacteria and can undo any benefit you may have obtained.


Although the licorice candy found in America (whips, vines and nibs) are certainly delicious, the kind that will actually help save your teeth is the pure licorice root found in India, southern Europe and parts of Asia. This sweet-tasting herb contains several compounds (licoricidin, licorisoflavan and glycyrrhizic acid) that have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties that reduce oral bacteria.

A study published in the Journal of Natural Products found that dried licorice root inhibited the growth of three types of bacteria responsible for causing cavities and gum disease. Licorice can also minimize bad breath.

Sucking on a lollipop or eating a few pieces of candy a day made using licorice root may be all you need to obtain the oral benefits. However, you should talk to your doctor before using it as licorice root can interfere with some medications.

Dark Chocolate

If you love chocolate, then here's one more reason to indulge in this popular treat. Dark chocolate contains theobromine, which has been shown to strengthen teeth and bones. Cocoa also has antioxidants and natural antibacterial properties that can fight bacteria and protect oral health.

However, you only get these benefits from dark chocolate and the darker the better. The sugar in milk and white chocolate can cancel out any health benefits they may provide.

For more information, contact Dr. Sudharani V Chary or a similar dental professional.