When we think of vitamins, we may not think about how they affect our oral health. We know they’re good for general well-being, so we should remember that they are also important for the teeth, tongue and gums. So here is some advice for our Sacramento dental patients on the importance of vitamins in our regular diet when it comes to oral health.
Your Diet and Oral Health
A varied diet of whole foods with lots of fruits and vegetables is recommended. This is best way to get vital nutrients that support your oral health. Packaged and processed foods often contain high quantities of added sugar, salt, starches and preservatives that work against our dental health goals. With a good diet, supplements are often not necessary, unless recommended by your dentist or doctor.
The Superior Six For Oral Health
Strong gums and healthy teeth especially need six specific vitamins and minerals. These are all contained in foods you may eat regularly, but could stand to consume more often.
Vitamin A supports mucous membranes and saliva flow. These help heal your mouth and keep it healthy. Fish, egg yolks and organ meats, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables (like mangoes and carrots) all contain vitamin A. Dark leafy greens, like kale and spinach, also contain vitamin A.
B vitamins reduce inflammation and are found in poultry, beans, soy and green vegetables. Some vegetarians and vegans may need to take monthly B12 supplements to prevent anemia and nervous system problems.
The most popular vitamin, vitamin C supports the immune system by reducing inflammation and repairing connective tissue. Without enough vitamin C, you get bleeding gums and scurvy. Berries, oranges, kale and broccoli are all high in vitamin C and support immune system health.
Pork, beef, and chicken liver, canola and soybean oil all contain coenzyme Q10. It promotes healing and decreases bleeding from gingivitis. Parsley also contains coenzyme Q10, so don’t leave it on your plate! That garnish is edible and besides the vitamins, it provides fresher breath when you eat it.
Our bodies need vitamin D to absorb calcium, the foundation of jawbones and teeth. Milk, cheese, yogurt, cod liver oil and getting a little sun (a minimum of twenty minutes per day) are all good ways to get more vitamin D.
Sufficient calcium in our diet prevents weak bones and chipped or loose teeth. Milk, cheese, leafy greens, cauliflower, almonds and fortified orange juice or soy milk all contain calcium. Note that caffeine consumption is linked to calcium depletion, another good reason to make healthier food and beverage choices.