One of the best things you can do for your body is feed it a healthy diet. Thus it stands to reason that one of the best things you can do for your oral health is eat well. Even so, teeth and gums benefit from different vitamins than your stomach or heart. But before we get specific, let’s discuss an overall healthy diet.
Some might think the link between your food and your oral health might end once the food gets swallowed. Yet, when your food is digested and processed, some of those components return as resources for your oral health. The less nutrition in the food, the less nutrition to build and maintain your mouth. Processed foods or fast foods tend to replace healthy nutrients and vitamins with preservatives and sugars. Consume those last two in excess and you can actually damage your health!
How Vitamins Help and Where to Get Them
What foods benefit your oral health? In terms of vitamins and nutrients, specifically, look for the following six vitamins:
Vitamin A — this vitamin supports mucous membranes and saliva flow, as well as general healing. It can be found in fish, egg yolks, sweet potatoes, yellow and orange fruits (like mangoes and carrots), and dark leafy greens like kale or spinach.
B Vitamins — Specifically Vitamin B2, B3, and B12 benefit your oral health by helping to prevent mouth sores. B3 also helps the nervous system function properly, and B12 helps to reduce inflammation. You can find vitamins B2 and B3 in chicken and fish. B2 in is also in red meat, pork, milk, and cheese. Although B12 is found in spinach and almonds, a vegan diet may not supply enough and supplements might be necessary.
Vitamin C — A wonderful boost for the immune system, vitamin C also helps to repair connective tissue. It plays an important role in preventing gingivitis. A lack of vitamin C leads to bleeding gums and tooth loss (the sailors’ disease called scurvy). Sweet potatoes, raw red peppers and oranges are good sources for vitamin C.
Calcium — Calcium keeps your tooth enamel strong, preventing teeth from chipping. Conversely, too little calcium can result in gum disease and tooth decay. Drinking excessive caffeine is linked to calcium depletion. Milk or soy milk, both are great sources of calcium. Foods like cheese, almonds, leafy greens and cauliflower are also good sources.
Vitamin D — Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. In fact, without enough vitamin D your body will leach calcium out of your bones, endangering the integrity of your jaws and teeth. You can find vitamin D in milk and yogurt as well as fish and fortified cereals. You can also acquire vitamin D by sitting in the sun for twenty minutes a day.
Vitamin E — Vitamin E is linked to the prevention of periodontal disease. It lowers inflammation in the mouth, and it acts as an antioxidant to fight against damage to gum tissue. To get more vitamin E in your diet, include things like nuts, seeds and leafy vegetables in what you eat. Fish and avocados are also good sources.
The Placerville Dental Group wants your oral health to be maintained safely and successfully. Making sure your diet supports your oral health is an important factor. Not only that, a healthy diet makes you look and feel better. If you would like other tips and pointers to support your oral health through diet, please schedule an appointment online or give us a call. We’d love to discuss your health and eating habits with you, in relation to your dental health.