Proper nutrition is beneficial for your whole body, including your teeth and gums. By ingesting the right vitamins through food or supplements, you can help protect your oral health. Here are five essential vitamins for teeth and gum health.
Calcium isn't just good for your bones, it's good for your teeth, too. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) explains that calcium helps form and maintain healthy teeth.
Dairy products like milk and yogurt have a type of calcium that's easy for your body to absorb. Canned salmon and sardines with bones are also good sources. Vegan options include green leafy vegetables, blackstrap molasses and fortified cereals.
Phosphorous is another important vitamin for healthy teeth. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that besides calcium, you have more of phosphorous than any other mineral in the body, and most of it is in your teeth. It's necessary in the maintenance and repair of all the body's tissues. When it comes to your mouth, phosphorus works with calcium to keep your teeth strong.
Phosphorous is present in many protein-rich foods, like meats, eggs, nuts, legumes and dairy. It can also be found in whole grains, dried fruit and even carbonated beverages. Most people get enough of this vitamin in their regular diet without the need for supplementation.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays a big role in keeping your teeth healthy. This micronutrient tells your intestines to absorb the calcium you've eaten and move it into your bloodstream. Delta Dental explains that without enough vitamin D, your body will leach calcium out of your bones.
Some foods are fortified with vitamin D. Milk, breakfast cereals and other foods may have this vitamin added. Check the nutrition labels to learn if your favorite foods supply vitamin D.
4. Vitamin C
While many vitamins are good for your teeth, others, like vitamin C, are good for your gums. According to the Mayo Clinic, vitamin C is needed for the formation of blood vessels and other key tissues that support your teeth. The nutrient is also important for healing. When people have severe vitamin C deficiencies, they can experience bleeding gums. That's how important vitamin C is to your gum health.
Citrus fruits, berries, Brussels sprouts, spinach and other fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C.
5. Vitamin A
You may have heard that vitamin A is good for your eyes, but it's also great for your mouth, explains the NIH. It helps form and maintain tissues like teeth and mucus membranes.
This essential vitamin is found in two forms: preformed vitamin A and provitamin A. The former is found in meat, poultry, dairy and other animal products. Provitamin A is found in fruits and vegetables and is converted into the active form of vitamin A by your body, notes the NIH.
When to Take Vitamins
While a healthy diet can provide you with enough vitamins, the NIH explains that some people may need to take vitamin supplements to reach the recommended daily intake. Remembering to take a supplement every day can be challenging, so try to incorporate it into your oral hygiene routine. For example, you could get in the habit of taking your supplement in the mornings before you brush with your Colgate 360° Total Advanced Floss-Tip Bristles toothbrush after breakfast.
There are several useful vitamins for teeth and gums. Talk to your dentist about your oral health and the role vitamin supplements can play. They can give you more detailed advice about the nutrients that would serve you best and how to fit your supplements into your routine.
Remember, before you start taking any vitamins or changing your diet, talk to your dentist and doctor. While vitamins may seem harmless, dietary supplements may interact or interfere with some prescription medications. It's also possible to get too much of a good thing when it comes to vitamins. But with your doctor or dentist's help, you can correctly take the vitamins you need to maintain good oral health.