How Does Yogurt Affect Your Oral Health?

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Medically reviewed by Danielle Romatz, RDH

Yogurt is a staple of many diets, but what does this acidic treat do to gums and teeth? If you’re at all concerned with your dental health, you’ve probably considered the impact that other acidic foods might have on your mouth. When it comes to yogurt, what do you need to know? Is it safe to consume without any worries?

Yogurt is fairly safe and healthy for your mouth. The good bacteria present in yogurt combats bad bacteria in your mouth, protects gums, and freshens your breath. Yogurt’s high calcium content also helps strengthen teeth. However, sugary yogurt should be avoided to prevent tooth decay.

If you want to incorporate more yogurt into your diet for oral health reasons, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know. If you’re concerned with how your yogurt consumption might be affecting your teeth, we can help you there, too. Let’s look at an overview of how yogurt impacts your teeth, gums, and overall oral health.

What Is Yogurt Exactly?

Young woman eating yogurt

Yogurt is, hands down, one of the most common cultured dairy products and a food staple across the world. But what exactly is the creamy clotted substance we pull from plastic containers when we’re looking for a slightly sweet, tangy kick?

Yogurt is a cultured dairy product. Cultures, or bacterial colonies, ferment the sugars in the raw milk and produce that classic tang that we know and love. The bacteria also covert lactose into lactic acid, which makes yogurt a relatively acidic food, with a pH ranging from 4 to 5. Nonetheless, yogurt is generally considered less acidic than other animal proteins.

Yogurt comes in many different styles and forms to suit a wide range of preferences in terms of flavor and texture. This Chobani multi-pack (on Amazon), for instance, shows some common fruit flavors, but note that flavored options like this will typically have a bit more sugar than plane yogurt, making them slightly worse for your teeth than non-sweetened options.

It’s hard to imagine a world without yogurt! You can find yogurt in all kinds of dishes and desserts, and, of course, some just enjoy it plain.

But yogurt is much more than just a sweet treat. It also has important components that affect your health.

What Are the Health Benefits of Yogurt?

Probiotics (all those funky creatures we mentioned earlier that turn milk into yogurt) are actually quite beneficial for gut health. In fact, without bacteria, our intestines just wouldn’t function the same way. Introducing healthy bacteria into your microbiome can result in many benefits.

Fermented foods can also fight off diseases like cancer and bone diseases, and help the body maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

Unfortunately, when it comes to dental health, yogurt isn’t entirely friendly, since it often contains sugar. While the amount of sugar can depend on the type of yogurt you choose, it should be considered in the overall impact of eating yogurt.

How Does Yogurt Affect Your Teeth?

Raspberries cream snack health healthy diet weight loss yogurt

We know that yogurt is healthy for your stomach, but when it comes to your teeth, what do you need to worry about? This is a common question among people worried about their dental wellbeing.

Yogurt can actually be quite healthy for your teeth. Not only will it help strengthen your teeth, but it can also keep your gums safe and freshen your breath.

Finding the correct type of yogurt, the one with the least amount of sugar, is key to getting all the health benefits of yogurt.

The first thing you need to know about yogurt and your dental health is how it can benefit the strength of your teeth. Yogurt has a high calcium content, which can help keep your teeth strong and healthy.

Next, you should know that yogurt can keep your gums safe. It’s rich in probiotics and is a good source of healthy bacteria. Since bacteria exist in a dog-eat-dog world, the more beneficial bacteria you have in your mouth, the less of a chance bad bacteria have to take a hold.

This effect is especially convenient since it’s that bad bacteria that causes bad breath. I know you probably wouldn’t associate yogurt with good breath, but it’s true. It also reduces the amount of hydrogen sulfide, another component of bad breath, quite significantly.

What Is the Best Type of Yogurt for Oral Health?

Now that you’re hearing about all the great benefits of eating yogurt, you may be wondering which type of yogurt you should be consuming. Most yogurts provide similar benefits as far as probiotics are concerned.

So, what do you need to be looking for on the label to make sure your teeth are kept safe?

When it comes to which yogurt is best for your dental health, it’s the type with the least amount of sugar. Sugar, even alongside good ingredients like probiotics, can still damage your teeth. If you can, look for Greek-style yogurts, since they often come with the least amount of sugar relative to other styles.

As you might imagine, the stuff that comes packed with sugar is a no-go. We know it might not be as fun to eat plain Greek yogurt, but your teeth will thank you. Sugar sitting on your teeth, paired with the bacteria in your mouth, can cause cavities.

In the worst-case scenario, cavities can require a treatment called a root canal. Now, you probably are already aware of how bad that particular procedure can be.

So, even though that yogurt with fruit compote or candy toppings looks appealing, put it down and replace it with something that will be better for your dental health.


Your teeth are picky, and there are lots of foods that don’t agree with them. Sugar is often the cause of both our attachments to certain foods and tooth decay. When it comes to yogurt, the same is true.

But by eating yogurt, you get all kinds of health benefits. So long as you don’t indulge in the decadent dessert options, you should be fine. Plain Greek yogurt, like this option from Chobani (on Amazon), is the best choice to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy.

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