9 Vitamins and Minerals for Good Oral Health
Considering how beneficial vitamins and minerals are to one’s health, it’s no wonder 4 in 5 American adults (86 percent) take these essential nutrients. They perform hundreds of roles in the body, including filling the gap in dental health.
Best Vitamins and Supplements for Your Teeth and Gums
What nutritionists call “superfoods” are the best source of vitamins and minerals. However, taking certain multivitamins or supplements — with a healthcare provider’s consent — can also help you maintain a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
Here are nine of the best vitamins, minerals, and supplements that may improve your oral health and well-being.
Because calcium is well-known for boosting bone health, its importance to dental health makes perfect sense. If you do not consume enough calcium, your body can recompense by extracting the essential mineral from teeth and bones. As a result, your chompers become frail and less resilient, leading to tooth decay.
Green leafy vegetables, tofu, sardines, oysters, almonds, and most dairy products such as milk and yogurt are tasty picks rich in calcium.
2. Vitamin A
Not only is vitamin A synonymous with good eyesight, but with healthy teeth and gums, too. Vitamin A plays a significant role in stimulating your salivary glands, which helps prevent tooth decay by washing away bacteria and plaque inside your mouth. Dry mouth is a serious condition that causes gum disease. Therefore, ensuring your mouth is moist is the best line of defense.
Some excellent food sources that contain a healthy dose of vitamin A include eggs, kale, spinach, sweet potatoes, yams, peppers, as well as orange and yellow vegetables and fruits.
3. B Vitamins
Two essential B vitamins that support good oral health are riboflavin (B-2) and niacin (B-3). Both of these vitamins prevent sores and oral inflammation, including canker sores, inflamed gums, and other injuries inside the mouth. Remember, healthy gums and soft tissues are just as important as your teeth. They are all part of maintaining a healthy smile.
Dairy products, red meat, spinach, almonds, and legumes are all dense food sources of riboflavin and niacin.
4. Vitamin C
Vitamin C has a multitude of benefits, one of which is keeping the connective tissues in your mouth healthy. If your body lacks vitamin C, your teeth can become fragile, loose, and you are more susceptible to developing gum (periodontal) disease. In fact, scurvy — one of the most common diseases in history — was a result of vitamin C deficiency. Among the many side effects of scurvy were swollen, bleeding gums and falling teeth. Thus, it is clear that having enough vitamin C in your diet is essential for good oral health.
Citrus fruits, peppers, berries, kale, and sweet potatoes are some of the various sources of vitamin C.
5. Vitamin D
If your body has insufficient levels of vitamin D, it will prevent you from absorbing calcium as efficiently. Furthermore, even if you take calcium supplements or eat foods packed with this nutrient, your body may not absorb nearly as much without the help of vitamin D.
A deficiency in vitamin D is one of the most common problems in the 21st Century. 10 percent of American men and women are vitamin D deficient, reported a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Your best line of defense is to eat nutritious foods rich in vitamin D, including enriched dairy products like yogurt and milk. Bathing in sunlight for 15 minutes a day is also an effective way to soak up an adequate amount of vitamin D.
6. Vitamin E
Because of vitamin E’s anti-inflammatory properties, scientists suspect a link between this essential vitamin and the prevention of gum disease.
Consuming healthy sources of vitamin E — including wheat germ, seeds and nuts, fish, avocados, and vegetable oil may reduce inflammation in the mouth and thwart oxidative stress.
Similar to calcium, potassium is vital for healthy bones. It inhibits the process of extracting minerals from your teeth (demineralization), and helps strengthen your pearly whites. Likewise, potassium is important for blood clotting, which is critical when recovering from oral surgery, or if your gums bleed when brushing or flossing.
If you are among the 98 percent of people in the U.S. whose diets are potassium-deficient, know that you have plenty of fresh options. Many fruits and vegetables are rich in potassium. These include bananas, oranges, cooked broccoli and spinach, mushrooms, zucchini, potatoes, eggplants, peas, and pumpkins.
Studies have found that aside from vitamin D, calcium needs aid from phosphorus to achieve complete absorption. Pairing phosphorus with calcium boosts oral health by strengthening your tooth structure.
Some of the most nutrient-packed sources of phosphorus include milk, yogurt, cheese, and red meat. If you follow a plant-based diet, beans, lentils, and nuts are delicious alternatives.
In most cases, the health benefits of iron — a very important mineral — go unnoticed until you are not getting enough. Iron is responsible for keeping your red blood cell count at a normal level. A deficiency in this mineral causes a myriad of side effects, such as deep fatigue, dizziness, weakness, and persistent headaches. To make matters worse, a lack of iron in your diet impacts your dental health as well. The consequences include issues with inflammation and advanced gum disease.
While the best source of iron is red meat, you can also obtain it through green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, and silverbeet. Eggs, brown rice, and fortified breakfast cereals are other great sources.
The Bottom Line
Eating an abundance of fruits and vegetables, as well as recommended amounts of lean meats, nuts, and soy, benefits your overall health and well-being tremendously. Plus, a healthy diet contributes to a brighter, more beautiful smile with less dental problems. However, if you cannot get these foods into your diet each day, a quality multivitamin can help fill the gap in your oral health.
If you are looking for a family dentist in Chandler and the surrounding cities in Arizona, call Kyrene Family Dentistry now at 480-705-9005 to make a dental appointment at a location near you.