Healthy teeth are important to your overall health. In this article, we’ll explore whether vitamins can help support healthy teeth.
An imbalance of essential nutrients can lead to malnutrition. The ability to properly chew allows you to get the maximum amount of nutrients from the food you eat. The number and distribution of teeth are important to the efficacy of chewing. Strong healthy teeth, certain nutrients, and proper saliva are required to maintain not only overall health, but optimal dental health as well. It is important to get a professional cleaning twice a year, as well as protection, buffering, and maintenance of tooth integrity. But it is also important to ensure that your body is getting all of the vitamins and minerals it needs.
Calcium is a mineral that is required for strong bones and teeth. It is also an important component of the hard, outer covering on your teeth called enamel. Without sufficient calcium, bones can grow weak, and become soft and porous. Additionally, calcium is necessary in the mouth for the teeth to remineralize following acid erosion from everyday things like coffee or citrus. Calcium also plays an important role in the production of saliva. This study of 145 subjects over the age of 65 suggests that calcium and vitamin D have a beneficial effect in maintaining healthy teeth.
Vitamin A is important for tooth formation, healthy gums, and tooth enamel. It is plentiful in organ meats, fatty fish (salmon, mackerel), cod liver oil, dairy, greens, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, and fortified breakfast cereals.
Vitamin D deficiency (VDD) can lead to issues with bone mineral density. This review demonstrates evidence that lack of vitamin D can contribute to discolored teeth, enamel, and dentin issues. It also contends that VDD is highly implicated with oral issues, higher risk of tooth defects, and oral treatment failure. Another study concludes that vitamin D plays a protective role in overall long-term dental health.
Vitamin C can promote healthy gums and soft tissue in your mouth. Deficiency can result in changes in the gingiva and bone, and contribute to a dry mouth feeling. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that promotes wound healing, which may help with oral cavity issues from braces or prosthetics. The RDA is 75-90 mg per day, though higher for smokers, pregnant and lactating persons. The vitamin can be found in most citrus fruit, strawberries, avocados, cruciferous vegetables, red peppers, and white potatoes. It is also available in high-quality supplement form such as Care/Of’s Vitamin C The Citrus Savior.
Vitamin K is involved with the production of protein in bones, including osteocalcin. While there are no specific studies with human subjects vitamin K and oral health, preliminary studies report that K2 it can help to maintain healthy dentin and dentinal flow. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) is 90-120 mcg. While available in supplement form, it is also plentiful in hard cheese, soft cheese, goose liver pate, natto, cheddar cheese, butter, egg yolk, and chicken liver (raw or pan-fried).
Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body. While found in every cell, phosphorus is most prevalent in bones and teeth. It works in conjunction with calcium to make up hydroxyapatite, the main structural component in bone and tooth enamel. The RDA for people aged 19+ is 700 mg per day. It can be found in organ meats, whole grains, poultry, cottage cheese, lentils, pumpkins seeds, seafood and nuts.
Vitamin B deficiencies can present as canker sores, enamel issues, cracked lips, cracking, swelling, or scaling of the corners of the mouth, bad breath, gum issues, tongue issues, lighter color of mucus membranes, and difficulty swallowing. Vitamin B12 can also present as a swollen tongue with linear lines. If you experience any of those oral health issues be sure to talk to your dentist. Overall, it is important to get adequate b vitamins from your diet. Foods naturally containing B vitamins include eggs, meat, organ meat, dairy, whole grains, fortified grains, nuts, legumes, shellfish, and avocado. It can also be found in high-quality supplements like Care/Of’s B-Complex The Busy B’s.
Zinc is essential for maintaining oral health. Its effectiveness can be evidenced by its presence in dental materials, toothpastes, and mouth washes. Zinc contributes to teeth formation and enamel health, and helps with absorption of other nutrients like Vitamins A, vitamin E, and folate. In the oral cavity, zinc is found in saliva and in the hydroxyapatite of the dental enamel. The RDA for zinc is 8-11 mg per day. Zinc can be found in oysters, dark chocolate, red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, lobster, shrimp, crabmeat, and spinach. It is also available in supplement form and as a lozenge.
A diet rich in potassium can help your teeth and bones use calcium more efficiently. This study found that lower potassium intake correlated with fewer teeth later in life, indicating the beneficial effects of dietary potassium on oral health. Leafy greens, potatoes, bananas, dried fruit, nuts, and molasses are all excellent sources of potassium.
Iron is necessary for proper blood circulation and transporting nutrients throughout the body. The teeth and gums are stronger and healthier because of these nutrients. Always measure your iron levels before considering supplementation because excess iron can be toxic.
Diet affects the integrity of teeth, the number of teeth, and the pH composition of saliva and plaque. Foods that contain high sugar content can increase the risk of cavities. Sugars and other fermentable carbohydrates, after being hydrolyzed by salivary amylase, provide the surface for the actions of oral bacteria, which in turn lower plaque and salivary pH.
In addition to a healthy diet, it is important to maintain proper oral hygiene. Regular brushing, flossing, and hydrating, (especially after consuming acidic beverages like coffee), will contribute significantly to oral health. Gum chewers might consider switching to sugarless gum. And finally, everyone should replace their toothbrush every 3 months.
Many of the vitamins that help your teeth also play an important part in your bone, and overall, health. This article explains it clearly and succinctly.
Optimal dental health is closely aligned with your body’s overall health. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies will impact more than just the state of your smile. Healthy gums, strong teeth, and the ability to chew are all important for your body to receive the nutrients it’s getting from food. A healthy diet is critical to a healthy lifestyle. If you are concerned that you are not meeting your body’s requirements, changes, including supplementation, can be made. As always, consult your physician, and in this case your dentist, when making decisions about supplementation.