Vitamins for Oral Health
Many parents encourage their children, “Drink your milk so you can grow strong teeth and bones!” As the dairy debate wages on and the population seems to grow increasingly lactose intolerant, what does that mean for teeth?
Fortunately, plenty of other vitamins and minerals contribute to a healthy smile. Here are a few:
Often associated with carrots and keen eyesight, vitamin A promotes saliva production which is crucial for cleaning away bacteria from between teeth and gums making them less susceptible to disease.
In addition to carrots, you can find vitamin A in peppers, sweet potatoes, leafy greens such as kale and spinach, and in proteins such as egg yolks and fish.
Teeth and supporting jaw bones are made up mostly of calcium. When not enough is consumed, your body can leech the calcium it needs from teeth and bones compromising their strength and integrity.
It’s true that milk and other dairy products are a source of calcium; however, plenty of other foods can help make sure you are getting adequate calcium in your diet. Almonds, sardines, oysters, legumes, broccoli, and leafy green vegetables are high in calcium. If you’re in doubt whether you’re getting enough, check with your physician who can also recommend a supplement.
Vitamin D is vital to your oral health as it helps our bodies absorb calcium. In its absence, you could suffer from calcium deficiency, gum disease, and tooth decay.
It’s easy to get enough vitamin D here in Florida, sit in direct sunlight for 15 minutes a day. But you can also get it through food sources such as milk, eggs, fish, and cod liver oil.
Another essential, Vitamin C, keeps the connective tissues of your gums strong. Insufficient vitamin C can cause tissues holding teeth in place to weaken and lead to gum disease and even tooth loss.
To ensure you’re getting an adequate amount of vitamin C, add plenty of sweet potatoes, peppers, broccoli, berries, oranges, kale, and berries to your diet.
Other vitamins and minerals that are crucial to maintaining oral health include B vitamins, specifically niacin and riboflavin, phosphorus, vitamin E, iron, potassium, iodine and fluoride. So while you might not need to “drink your milk,” you can definitely benefit from eating a balanced diet rich in leafy greens and seeing your dentist for regular checkups.