You know that eating well is important to keeping healthy teeth but equally important are the vitamins and nutrients you consume. Both kids and adults require the daily recommended amount of vitamins and minerals in order to develop strong teeth. But which vitamins and minerals are most important to good oral health? Make sure you include these in your day-to-day and you’ll have fabulous teeth for life!
- Calcium – this is the most obvious one; we all know calcium is vitally important for strong teeth and bones. Calcium helps harden enamel and strengthen the jawbone. For kids, it helps build strong teeth while in adults, it helps make teeth strong for life. Consuming too little calcium will put you at risk for gum disease and/or tooth decay. You can get your calcium in a variety of ways via cheese, yogurt, broccoli, salmon, leafy greens, and nuts.
- Iron – Iron’s role in the body is to transport oxygen so consuming too little can contribute to infections and bacteria build up in the mouth (due to lack of oxygen) causing tongue inflammation or mouth sores. Nobody wants to suffer through that so make sure you’re getting plenty of iron in your diet. Liver and red meat are great sources or if you don’t eat meat consume legumes, grains, nuts & seeds.
- Vitamin D – this vitamin is incredibly important because without it calcium wouldn’t be absorbed properly into your body. Vitamin D also boosts mineral density and without enough of it your body will leach calcium out of your bones. Not good! You get Vitamin D naturally from sunlight but you need more than what you get from that. Make sure to get plenty of Vitamin D rich foods such as fatty fish, cheese, egg yolks, portobello mushrooms and Vitamin D fortified foods such as milk, OJ, and cereals.
- Phosphorous – besides calcium this is the most abundant mineral in the body, most of it being in the teeth, and like Vitamin D it supports calcium in building strong bones and teeth. Phosphorous is also necessary for the maintenance of the body’s tissues. So, where do you find it? Lucky for us phosphorous is found in a whole bunch of delicious foods! You can find it in seafood, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, beef, pork, dried fruit, and whole grains. This is one healthy item you won’t have trouble finding.
- Vitamin A – this vitamin is usually associated with good eyesight but it’s also important for keeping gums healthy. Vitamin A helps produce saliva which is needed to wash away harmful bacteria, it keeps you from having dry mouth and helps your mouth heal. You can find Vitamin A in sweet potatoes, fish, liver, melon, leafy greens, orange colored fruits, boiled eggs, and carrots.
- Potassium – similar to Vitamin D, potassium also improves mineral density plus it works with magnesium to prevent your blood from becoming too acidic – the result of which is the leaching of calcium from bones and teeth. Get potassium from bananas, lima beans, tomatoes, potatoes, and avocados.
- Magnesium – magnesium helps prevent cavities and helps build strong enamel. You can find it in spinach, kale, and dark chocolate (yum!).
- Vitamin C – healthy gums require Vitamin C! This vitamin is good for your gums – it helps strengthen them and the soft tissue in your mouth plus it protects against gingivitis. In fact, people with Vitamin C deficiency can often experience bleeding gums or lose teeth. Yikes! Obviously you can get your Vitamin C quota in via citrus fruits but you can also get plenty in leafy greens, sweet potatoes, and raw red peppers.
The best way to get your vitamins and minerals is, of course, via a healthy diet but sometimes it is necessary to take supplements. Remembering to take a pill daily can be a challenge so include it somewhere in your routine that you’ll be sure to not forget (aka take it in the morning as soon as you get up or at night right before you brush your teeth). Talking to your doctor or dentist can give you a better idea of exactly which vitamins and minerals you need the most of in your diet and they can give you ways to incorporate them into your life. Also be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any supplements because some supplements may interact with certain prescription medications.
Good oral health is just a few simple steps away and if you have questions about anything tooth-related, we’re just a phone call away. So, eat well, take your vitamins, brush daily and enjoy the benefits of great teeth!