Brushing and flossing are essential to maintain good oral hygiene, but did you know that the nutrients you consume (or not) can also have a significant impact on your oral health? Read on to learn about the best vitamins for teeth and gums, and what foods you can eat to add more of these nutrients to your diet. Luckily, a lot of the foods are natural and delicious!
5 Essential Vitamins For Teeth And Gum Health
Your mouth, teeth, and gums are the first contact points for the nutrients you consume. As such, they are essential for kicking off the digestion process. In fact, according to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, a peer-reviewed, open-access scientific journal published by MDPI (based in Switzerland), the process of chewing allows you to extract the greatest possible amount of nutrients from the food you eat. Conversely, nutrient deficiencies can lead to oral conditions like tooth loss. That means that consuming the right vitamins through food and supplements can promote healthy teeth and gums. 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. According to the United States-based National Institutes of Health, calcium is one of the most important minerals in the human body, as it helps form and maintain strong bones and teeth. Curious as to how you can take in calcium? You might already be doing it. Dairy products like milk and yogurt have a type of calcium that’s easy for your body to absorb. Canned salmon and sardines are also good sources. If you do not consume meat or dairy, or want to add more calcium-rich vegetables to your diet, try broccoli, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, bok choy or Chinese cabbage, or nuts like almonds, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, and tahini. Keep in mind that, to ensure these foods retain their calcium, cook them in a small amount of water for a short time, for example by steaming or sautéing instead of boiling. You can also take calcium as a supplement.
Phosphorus is another essential vitamin for healthy teeth. Phosphorus helps the body absorb and use calcium, and strengthens teeth by protecting and rebuilding tooth enamel. If you’re looking to add more phosphorus to your diet, try to incorporate meat, milk, and whole grains. Fish, eggs, and protein-rich foods are also excellent sources. Luckily, most people get enough of this vitamin in their regular diet without the need for supplements.
Vitamin D plays a significant role in keeping your teeth healthy. According to a 2020 article, Vitamin D Deficiency and Oral Health: A Comprehensive Review, vitamin D deficiencies can lead to several oral health disorders, like gingival problems and cavities. That’s because it plays a crucial role in bone and tooth mineralisation. Don’t worry—vitamin D can be taken as a supplement. It’s also present in oily fish like salmon, mackerel, and herring. Additionally, some foods are fortified with vitamin D, like milk and breakfast cereals.
Vitamin C is not only good for your teeth; it’s an excellent vitamin for gums, too. Vitamin C helps keep the connective tissues in your gums healthy and strong, which hold your teeth in place—meaning deficiencies can lead to sensitive gums and gum problems. In addition, vitamin C supplements also reduce erosive tooth wear in early childhood. You’re likely getting a lot of vitamin C in your diet, as it’s present in citrus fruits, peppers, sweet potatoes, broccoli, berries, and kale. Supplements are also widely available.
Vitamin A is not only good for your eyes and skin, but for your mouth too, in particular for saliva production. Saliva helps break down food and also clears germs from in between your teeth. You can find vitamin A in orange-coloured fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, fish and egg yolks. It’s also available as a supplement.
A healthy diet can provide you with a lot of these vitamins for teeth and gums. That being said, taking supplements may be a better option in some cases. If you’re wondering if you should take a supplement, talk to your dentist or physician, as some dietary supplements may interact or interfere with some prescription medications.
If you’re maintaining a healthy and balanced diet full of whole fruits and vegetables, you’re probably already consuming many of these teeth-friendly nutrients. And if you’re concerned about your vitamin levels, chat with your dentist about what supplements or foods you could add to your diet. Understanding how these vitamins impact your teeth can help your oral care in the long term. Now that you know what vitamins are essential to your oral health, why not try a delicious new recipe with these nutrient-packed foods?