CHEESE: Looks like the French are on to something with that post-meal fromage course. Cheese contains calcium, which strengthens teeth as well as the jaw. And its waxy texture helps brush away food particles, says Dr Timothy Chase, a cosmetic dentist in New York.
GREEN TEA: This beverage is packed with polyphenol antioxidants that fight plaque-forming free radicals and help prevent gum disease. Drink it after meals because antioxidants curb bad breath, too.
MUSHROOMS: The most common natural source of vitamin D in the produce section, these fungi help you absorb tooth-strengthening calcium. Also, research suggests that a component in shiitake mushrooms may help prevent cavities by lowering plaque build-up, says Jackie Newgent, RD, author of Big Green Cookbook.
PISTACHIOS: Like most nuts, pistachios have huge amounts of magnesium, which increases the absorption of calcium; they also have beta-carotene, which may lessen gum inflammation, the main cause of periodontal disease.
YOGURT PROBIOTICS: Good bacteria don’t only do your digestive tract good. According to research, probiotic-rich foods like yogurt offer protection against gum disease by lowering levels of bad bacteria in the mouth. Plus, yogurt is a solid source of calcium, whey protein and phosphorus, the ultimate strong-tooth trio, Newgent says. (Don’t discard the liquid on top; it’s the stuff that hits the protein sweet spot.)