Just as essential nutrients give your body the nourishment it needs for healthy growth and maintenance, so too are they important for the health of your teeth and gums. Nutrients that aid in tooth health include specific vitamins and minerals. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, a deficiency of a certain vitamin or mineral can cause a specific oral health problem. In this article, we discuss the best vitamins and minerals for your teeth, and where you can find them.
Calcium – There is probably no mineral more closely associated with healthy teeth than calcium. The fact that jaws and teeth are mostly composed of calcium is no coincidence. Calcium deficiency can increase your risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease. You need to include calcium in your diet, not just for healthy bones, but also for healthy, strong teeth. The most well-known source of calcium is in dairy products, but vegans (and those who are lactose intolerant) can find calcium in dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, fruit and fortified foods such as soy milk and orange juice.
Vitamin D – This very important vitamin helps the body absorb calcium. In addition, a lack of vitamin D can cause burning mouth syndrome, which presents itself as a dry mouth and a metallic or bitter taste. Foods that contain vitamin D include fatty fish such as salmon or mackerel, egg yolks and milk. For vegans, this is a bit tricky, but there are foods that are fortified with this vitamin, including certain kinds of tofu, soy milk and almond milk. Other vegan sources of vitamin D include mushrooms and sunlight!
Phosphorous – Another vital element that helps the body absorb calcium is phosphorous. Dairy products typically include both calcium and phosphorous, but if you’re taking a supplement, it might not have this mineral. Non-dairy foods that are high in phosphorous include lentils, red meat, nuts, beans and whole grains.
Vitamin C – If you don’t have enough vitamin C in your diet, you can develop bleeding gums and may even experience tooth loss. Vitamin C provides necessary nutrition to the connective tissues in your gums. Fortunately, many foods contain vitamin C, including oranges, berries, raw red peppers, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes.
Vitamin A – As explained by Best Health Magazine, vitamin A helps the body maintain a healthy flow of saliva, which plays an important role in cleaning teeth. It also keeps the gums in good shape, which is extremely important in keeping teeth strong and healthy. Vitamin A, in addition to being great for your mouth, also promotes good eyesight, healthy skin and a robust immune system. And that isn’t too shabby for one vitamin! There are many foods that contain vitamin A, such as egg yolks, fish, organ meats plus yellow and orange foods such as mangoes, sweet potatoes and carrots. Dark leafy greens have large amounts of beta-carotene, which is converted in the body to vitamin A.
Other minerals that are said to be beneficial to oral health include zinc, iron and folate, all of which support mucosal and connective tissues.