Having healthy teeth requires more than just brushing and flossing. In fact, your oral health must be supported with the right vitamins and minerals. Following a healthy diet should give you the right nutrients that your teeth need, but to be sure, you can insure you get the proper levels through over the counter supplements. Check out the list below of nine important nutrients that you don’t want to miss out on if you want to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
Calcium is a rather obvious start to the list of the nutrients that are necessary for keeping teeth healthy. It is essential for the body to build healthy bones, which includes hardening the enamel on your teeth and keeping the jawbone strong. Calcium is vital for children so that their teeth and bones fully develop as strong as possible. When not enough calcium is consumed through the diet, the body will take calcium from bones and teeth, weakening them in the process.
- What to eat: Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are popularly known for containing calcium. But there are more options that include leafy green vegetables, broccoli, almonds, and salmon.
2. Vitamin D
Right behind calcium in importance is vitamin D, another necessary nutrient for building strong teeth and bones. Vitamin D is needed to help the body absorb calcium, so if your body is lacking in vitamin D, the benefits of the calcium that you consume is diminished. Your body can naturally make vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight. Just 15 minutes per day of direct sunlight is all your body needs to naturally make enough vitamin D.
- What to eat: If you aren’t able to get enough sunlight for natural vitamin D production, you can also get vitamin D through foods like fatty fish, portobello mushrooms, dairy products, eggs, and fortified breakfast cereals.
3. Magnesium and Potassium
Magnesium and potassium are nutrients that also work to maintain appropriate calcium levels in your teeth and bones. Like vitamin D, magnesium helps the body absorb calcium. Potassium, on the other hand, works to guard against the breakdown of bones and teeth. An additional bonus of potassium is that it is essential to blood clotting, so if you suffer an oral wound, it will heal quicker.
- What to eat: Foods rich in magnesium include nuts, whole grains, beans, and seeds. For potassium, eat foods like bananas, Swiss chard, avocados, potatoes, and prunes.
4. Vitamin K
Vitamin K is another nutrient that keeps the teeth and bones strong. It also promotes the production of osteocalcin, a protein needed for repair and growth within the dentin (one of four major components of the teeth) and blocks substances that break down bone and teeth.
- What to eat: Leafy greens, broccoli, Brussel sprouts.
There’s So Much More…
5. Vitamin A
Often thought of as the vitamin that is essential for eye health, Vitamin A is also important to maintaining good oral health. Vitamin A keeps your mucous membranes healthy, which means your cheeks and gums stay coated with mucous, keeping them moist. It also promotes the flow of saliva. Saliva is the mouth’s natural way to clean teeth and remove bacteria. As a result of not having a dry mouth, your mouth is less susceptible to infection and disease.
- What to eat: Orange foods like carrots, pumpkin and sweet potatoes. Vitamin A is also found in leafy green vegetables, eggs, and fish.
6. Vitamin C
Vitamin C benefits your gums because it supports the blood vessels and tissues found in the mouth. Having healthy gums can prevent gingivitis, gum disease, and tooth loss. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that helps the body heal faster and resist infections. A sign of low amounts of vitamin C in the body is bleeding gums.
- What to eat: Some unknown foods with vitamin C are strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, and sweet red peppers. Most well-known sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits. Keep in mind, citrus fruits are very acidic, so it’s important to rinse your mouth out after eating these foods to keep your teeth healthy.
7. Vitamin B
Vitamin B is a combination of multiple vitamins, sometimes referred to as B-complex. Your oral health is improved through B2 and B12 which keep sores within the mouth at bay. A lack of B3 can also cause bad breath.
- What to eat: Chicken, fish, dairy products, spinach, almonds, and whole grain foods.
When it comes to mineral breakdown in the body, phosphorous comes in second behind calcium. Most of the phosphorous in your body is in your teeth, which means it is necessary to keep your teeth strong.
- What to eat: Protein-rich foods like meets, dairy, eggs, nuts, and legumes; whole grains; and carbonated beverages. Be careful of consuming carbonated beverages since they are often loaded with other ingredients that are harmful to teeth and gums.
9. Trace Minerals
This is a term used to describe several minerals that are only needed by your body in small amounts. These compounds are many, but only a few are important to maintaining healthy teeth. Here are a few important ones:
Fluoride protects against tooth and gum decay and strengthens enamel. Fluoride is found in many toothpastes and may be given through a treatment during routine dental exams.
- What to eat: seafood, black tea, and treated tap water.
Iodine helps with calcium absorption to strengthen bones.
- What to eat: shellfish, seaweed, sesame seeds, and squash.
Zinc is found in saliva and prevents the growth of bacteria and plaque, keeping your teeth and gums healthy and warding off decay.
- What to eat: cashews, read meat, oysters, dark chocolate, and legumes.
Iron deficiency can lead to mouth sores and an inflamed tongue. Iron is also important to maintaining healthy cells in the mouth.
- What to eat: meats and cereals fortified with iron.
Maintaining a healthy mouth requires a balance between practicing good oral hygiene and consuming a healthy diet. As you can see from the above information, both are required for proper oral health. If you feel your diet is lacking in these nutrients, consider taking a daily multivitamin to improve your chances of having a healthy mouth.
We are your oral health experts. If you are not satisfied with the look of your smile, make an appointment today with Drs. Nease & Higginbotham to find out which orthodontic procedure is right for you!
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9 Important Vitamins and Minerals (for Healthy Teeth)