Choosing better bread

You can enjoy bread as part of a well-rounded, nutritious diet. But not all breads are created equal — some are better for your health than other.

How can bread harm your health? Products with processed flour and a lot of added sugar can stick to your teeth and breed bacteria. The bacteria, over time, can lead to plaque, gum disease, and other issues. Here’s what to look for so you can protect your smile.

How to choose healthier bread

It’s important to read food labels. There’s a lot of information listed there, but when it comes to bread, here’s what to look for:

Whole grains should be listed as a primary ingredient because processed grains lose nutrients and often have more sugar.

Added sugar can make any bread unhealthy. Try and stay below the recommended daily allowance.

Fiber helps fight gum disease and can be found in whole grains. Look for at least 3 grams of fiber per serving.

More ways to protect your smile

Drink water while you eat and after your meal. This way the bread won’t stick to your teeth and strengthen bacteria that causes cavities and tooth decay.

Brush twice a day for two minutes. Use a fluoride toothpaste and reach the entire surface of each tooth. Remember to floss daily.

Chew sugar-free gum. It can stimulate saliva production, which helps wash away food and keep your mouth clean. Bonus: It can also mask bad breath!

The risks and rewards of different bread types

White bread

Probably the worst choice for your health, white bread usually has a high sugar count. It also loses fiber and most other nutrients when the flour is processed.

100% whole wheat

Whole grain or whole wheat bread provides vitamins, whole grains, and fiber. Fiber helps make you feel full, which can help you snack less and keep your mouth clean. But not all wheat breads are equal. Check the food label to make sure whole grains are listed and to review the added sugar content.


This is a good source of mouth-friendly nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, antioxidants, and fiber. Many rye breads on the market are not made with whole grains through, so make sure to read the food label and see if whole grain is listed as the top ingredient.


This choice doesn’t offer any oral health benefits. If you love sourdough, it does provide microbes that benefit your gut health by breaking down proteins earlier. This makes it easier to digest than many other breads.


These breads are made with ingredients like rice flour and potato flour instead of wheat, rye, and barley. They can be high in fat, sugar, and salt, and offer less fiber and B vitamins. If you can’t eat gluten, be extra careful reading these food labels.

Ezekiel bread

Another healthier choice, this bread provides vitamin C, has no added sugar, and is made from sprouted whole grains such as wheat and barley. Because it has less sugar, it can be a better choice for your oral health.

Let’s toast to better bread

Whenever possible, choose whole grain, high fiber food like whole grain or Ezekiel bread. They can be part of a healthy diet and the nutrients they provide can lower cholesterol level and risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. When you do eat bread, try to minimize any risk with a good oral health routine and plenty of water.

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