Tasty Treats That Won’t Hurt Your Teeth or Gut
Most tasty treats are laden with highly processed ingredients, especially sugar and refined carbohydrates. Eating too much sugar can disrupt the healthy balance in your gut microbiome, leaving you vulnerable to unpleasant GI symptoms and other health conditions.
Additionally, all of that excess sugar can attract bad bacteria in your mouth which can disrupt the protective layer of your teeth, setting the stage for gingivitis and gum disease.
Here’s a list of our favorite tooth-friendly and gut-friendly snacks that will enhance your health and leave you satisfied:
Yogurt with fresh fruit
Plain yogurt mixed with your favorite fresh fruit is the perfect tasty treat to support the health of both your gut and your mouth. Yogurt typically provides probiotics, live beneficial bacteria that can promote a balanced gut microbiome which supports improved digestive health.1
Additionally, by adding fresh fruit, you’ll also be adding fiber. Fiber enhances the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, all while inhibiting the growth of harmful pathogens.
The calcium found in yogurt can help support strong tooth enamel which can protect your teeth from decay. Furthermore, the casein in yogurt can reduce erosion by neutralizing the acid in your mouth which further strengthens and protects your tooth enamel.2
Dark chocolate-covered strawberries
Believe it or not, dark chocolate is not only delicious but can also support your oral and gut health.
One recent study found that dark chocolate appears to increase the diversity and quantity of friendly gut bacteria.3
Moreover, surprising research shows that dark chocolate may help reduce cavities, plaque buildup, and tooth decay. Dark chocolate provides powerful polyphenols, natural chemicals that can reduce the growth of problematic oral bacteria. Polyphenols may also help neutralize organisms that cause bad breath and help to prevent cavities.4
Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C which can support oral health by keeping your gums healthy and strong.5
Like many fresh fruits, strawberries are packed with fiber which can help reduce harmful gut bacteria while supporting the growth of helpful bacteria along your GI tract.
Apples with almond butter
Did you know that almond butter has nearly double the amount of fiber that peanut butter does? This fiber provides important prebiotics which can act as “food” for friendly bacteria in your gut.
Almond butter is also packed with nutrients like calcium and phosphorus which both play a key role in strengthening your teeth and gums.
Apples can support your oral health by causing your mouth to produce saliva which can neutralize the effects of acidic foods. Additionally, the fibrous texture of a nice crisp apple can help to stimulate your gums, further reducing cavity-causing bacteria while increasing saliva flow.
If you’re looking for a salty snack that will satisfy your urge to crunch, look no further than roasted chickpeas. Chickpeas are loaded with soluble fiber that may help ease digestive issues by increasing the number of healthy bacteria in your gut. The fiber in chickpeas can also help prevent the overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria.
They're also rich in phosphorus and folic acid, two nutrients which can support your oral health by promoting cell growth.
You’ll find already prepared roasted chickpeas in most grocery stores, or they’re simple enough to roast right at home.
Baked pears with cinnamon
Baked pears with cinnamon make a wonderful healthy snack that will feel like you’re indulging in a luscious dessert. Pears are an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber, which can enhance your digestive health.
Much like apples, pears can help neutralize the acids in your mouth that can lead to tooth decay. Furthermore, they are packed with vitamin C which can support the health of your gums.5
The best snacks for your teeth and gut
Many snacks that wreak havoc on your gut health, are also bad for your teeth. Overindulging in snacks that are high in sugar and overly processed carbohydrates can lead to gut dysbiosis, an imbalance of your gut microbiota.6
Overly-processed sugary snacks can also promote the buildup of bacteria and plaque which can lead to cavities and tooth decay.
One of the best ways to optimize your gut and oral health is to focus on whole foods while snacking rather than overindulging in highly processed snacks. In addition, make sure the foods you select are tailored for you and your unique biology, as good nutrition is never “one-size-fits all.”
Wieërs G, Belkhir L, Enaud R, Leclercq S, Philippart de Foy JM, Dequenne I, de Timary P, Cani PD. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2020 Jan 15;9:454. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2019.00454. PMID: 32010640; PMCID: PMC6974441.
White AJ, Gracia LH, Barbour ME. Caries Res. 2011;45(1):13-20. doi: 10.1159/000322300. Epub 2010 Dec 11. PMID: 21160185.
Shin JH, Kim CS, Cha L, Kim S, Lee S, Chae S, Chun WY, Shin DM. J Nutr Biochem. 2022 Jan;99:108854. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2021.108854. Epub 2021 Sep 14. PMID: 34530112.
Ferrazzano GF, Amato I, Ingenito A, De Natale A, Pollio A. Fitoterapia. 2009 Jul;80(5):255-62. doi: 10.1016/j.fitote.2009.04.006. Epub 2009 May 3. PMID: 19397954.
Tada A, Miura H. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Jul 11;16(14):2472. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16142472. PMID: 31336735; PMCID: PMC6678404.
Satokari R. Nutrients. 2020 May 8;12(5):1348. doi: 10.3390/nu12051348. PMID: 32397233; PMCID: PMC7284805.