Strengthen your teeth and protect your oral health by including these vitamins and minerals in your diet.
You might take a daily multivitamin to protect your overall health, but are you getting enough vitamins and minerals for optimal oral health?
Here are 7 essential vitamins and minerals that can help you on your journey toward strong, healthy teeth and a glowing smile.
Calcium is a powerhouse mineral, best known for its important role in preserving bone health. Calcium is equally crucial for strong teeth and jaws. When we aren’t able to get enough calcium from our diet or supplementation, our bodies will leach calcium from our teeth. This calcium deficiency will not only lead to bone disease, but it can also weaken teeth and pose an increased risk of tooth decay and periodontal disease.
Dairy products are the quintessential source of dietary calcium we know so well. Dark leafy green vegetables, sardines, beans and lentils, and tofu are all great sources too. Looks for ways to incorporate calcium-rich foods into your diet. You can also take a calcium supplement.
Calcium needs a little help from phosphorus in order to do its job. Many people aren’t aware that phosphorus is necessary for calcium to be properly absorbed from food or supplements. A phosphorus deficiency would eventually lead to a calcium deficiency for this reason.
Thankfully, phosphorus is often present alongside calcium in the majority of animal-based foods, like milk, cheese, yogurt, kefir, and red meat. If you don’t eat animal-based products often or at all, taking a phosphorus supplement will ensure all your bases are covered.
3. Vitamin D
One of the most common nutritional deficiencies is vitamin D deficiency. While calcium is the king of dietary minerals, you could say that vitamin D is the king of dietary vitamins. Similar to phosphorus, our bodies need healthy levels of vitamin D to process calcium properly. If you have a vitamin D deficiency, no amount of calcium and phosphorus supplements will truly boost your oral health.
Although sunlight is often vilified due to skin damage and skin cancer, the truth is that small amounts of natural sunlight are the best way to get vitamin D. Spending 10 to 15 minutes a day in the sunlight without sunscreen will give you enough vitamin D for the day. Dairy foods, salmon, herring, sardines, oatmeal, and mushrooms also have naturally high levels of vitamin D!
4. Vitamin C
Vitamin C has a unique effect on our oral health. While the previously mentioned vitamins and minerals focus on preserving the strength of our teeth and jaw, vitamin C focuses on preserving the health of our oral connective tissues, including our gums. A vitamin C deficiency can increase your risk of developing gum disease and related tooth loss. This is most clear in cases of scurvy, in which patients lose teeth due to degrading gum tissue.
Vitamin C is naturally abundant in many citrus varieties, including oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits. Bell pepper, many berry varieties, dark leafy greens, and sweet potatoes are also great sources of vitamin C.
5. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is another vitamin that offers unique oral health benefits. More specifically, vitamin A helps preserve a healthy environment in your mouth by activating your salivary glands. Saliva is a very important factor in your oral health. Improperly functioning saliva glands can quickly lead to dry mouth, and chronic dry mouth spikes your risks of gum disease and tooth decay.
If you have a dry mouth, supplementing with vitamin A is a great idea. You should also include foods rich in vitamin A in your diet, such as egg yolks, fish, sweet potatoes, peppers, orange and yellow vegetables, and dark green vegetables.
Potassium benefits your oral health in two ways. Firstly, potassium is another bone and tooth health mineral similar to calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D. In fact, when any one of these four vitamins and minerals is deficient, all of them are negatively impacted. Secondly, potassium helps with blood clotting. If you find that your gums bleed easily while brushing, taking a potassium supplement, in addition to seeing your dentist, can help.
Bananas are famous for being a source of potassium, but you’ll also find this important mineral in avocados, cantaloupe, dark leafy greens, dairy products, sweet potatoes, beans, and peas.
Last but certainly not least is iron, the mineral most of us know as being beneficial for our circulatory system and healthy blood-oxygen levels. An iron deficiency is more common than many realize, and even fewer are aware of how it can harm oral health. In addition to feeling tired or dizzy, coping with headaches, and looking pale and unwell, a person with an iron deficiency has a suppressed immune system, which raises their risks of gum disease and any sort of inflammatory oral health problems.
Red meats have the highest natural levels of iron, but eggs, fortified bread, fortified cereals, seafood, dried fruit, quinoa, and legumes are also wonderful additions to your diet. If you suspect you have an iron deficiency, be sure to speak with your doctor, as you may need medication if you’re experiencing symptoms.
Get expert insight into your oral health by booking a consultation with Dr. Cooley Bentz.
A doctor or nutritionist can give you excellent guidance in creating a diet and supplement plan, but a dentist is the only one who can accurately evaluate your current level of oral health. If you’re interested in learning more about your smile, including what you can do to protect your oral health, a consultation with Dr. Cooley Bentz is the right path to take.
You can book your appointment today by calling our office or filling out this online form. We look forward to speaking with you about oral health, diet, and your long-term goals for your best smile yet.