Certain vitamins and minerals are especially beneficial to your dental health. These nutritional building blocks may be essential for keeping your teeth and gums healthy while benefiting your entire body.
Throughout the body, this mineral helps build bones and provide structural support. In your mouth, calcium helps harden your enamel and strengthen your jawbone. Milk, cheese, yogurt, broccoli and salmon are some known sources of calcium.
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium while boosting bone mineral density, so it’s crucial to get an adequate amount of vitamin D to get the most out of your calcium intake. Your body naturally makes vitamin D when it’s exposed to sunlight, but the vitamin can also be found in fatty fish, canned tuna and portobello mushrooms. You can also look for foods and drinks that have been fortified with vitamin D, such as milk, orange juice and cereal.
Like vitamin D, potassium improves bone mineral density. It also works with magnesium to prevent blood from becoming too acidic, which can leach calcium from your bones and teeth. Bananas are well known sources of potassium, but they’re not alone. Other fruits and vegetables with high levels of the mineral include lima beans, tomatoes, Swiss chard, potatoes, sweet potatoes, avocados and prunes.
Phosphorus supports calcium in building strong bones and teeth. Phosphorus is found in a wide range of foods. Rich sources of the mineral include seafood, such as scallops, sardines, cod, shrimp, tuna and salmon. If you’re looking to get your phosphorus from plant-based foods, consider soybeans, lentils and pumpkin seeds. You can also find phosphorus in beef, pork and cheese.
Think of this vitamin as a shield – it helps block substances that break down bone. It also helps your body produce osteocalcin, a protein that supports bone strength. A vitamin K deficiency can slow down your body’s healing process and make you more likely to bleed. Leafy greens, such as kale, collards and spinach, can help increase vitamin K in your diet. Other great sources include parsley, broccoli and Brussel sprouts.
Vitamin C strengthens your gums and the soft tissue in your mouth. It can protect against gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease, and can prevent your teeth from loosening. You probably already know that citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, but you can also find it in potatoes and leafy greens.
This vitamin helps keep the gums healthy. It prevents dry mouth and helps your mouth heal quickly. Vitamin A is found in fish, egg yolks and liver as well as leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale and collard greens, or in orange-colored fruits and oranges, apricots, cantaloupe, pumpkin, carrots and sweet potatoes. These fruits and veggies contain high levels of beta-carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A. Please check with your physician and dentist as to whether any foods or supplements containing these vitamins and minerals are appropriate for you. Also ask for advice as to quantity, duration, frequency and dosage.
(Portions of the above information were excerpted from a Delta Dental publication.)