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Just like all organs in the body, teeth have its own blood supply and need to be nourished. They require a certain amount of specific vitamins and minerals to be healthy. What vitamins are essential for healthy teeth? How do minerals prevent tooth decay? These are the 7 vitamins and minerals that you need to supplement in your daily diet in order to give your teeth what they need. Plus, it will also provide you a beautiful smile that you can confidently wear!
Which vitamins and minerals are good for me?
Vitamin C is vital for a lot of processes in the body. It is mainly responsible for maintaining the connective tissues in the body including the gums. Gums are responsible for holding the teeth in place. When there is a lack of vitamin C in the diet, the gums may start bleeding and become weaker. The more they recede, the less they are able to hold the teeth in their place and could further result to gum disease.
Vitamin C is important for the formation of collagen—the connective tissue that holds all flesh together. Low levels of vitamin C may lead to gum inflammation. Vitamin C also serves as an antioxidant that prevents the oxidative damage that is done to the oral cavity thereby acting as a natural antimicrobial agent in the mouth. Since 50-80% of people are affected by gum disease in one form or another, it is safe to say that additional supplementation with vitamin C is never unnecessary.
Undeniably, calcium is one of the most sought-out minerals when teeth are concerned. Calcium is a mineral found in the whole bone structure. The jaws and teeth are no exception. The body constantly needs calcium. If the body receives insufficient supply of this mineral from the food consumed, it automatically uses up calcium from the bones and teeth. To prevent this, sufficient amounts of calcium should be taken on a daily basis. A good orthodontist can calculate the calcium needs of the body judging by the condition of the teeth and decide how much of this mineral needs to be supplemented.
Vitamin D is a vitamin that works in calcium absorption. Without sufficient levels of this vitamin, calcium cannot be utilized correctly even if it is supplemented. This could again lead to problems with the teeth and gums. Vitamin D is a specific type of vitamin that is produced naturally by the body when it is exposed to direct sunlight. In order to have sufficient amounts of vitamin D, 15-20 minutes a day should be spent exposed to the sunlight. This is problematic for Northern countries that have a restricted amount of daylight during the winter. But, there is no need to worry if this occurs. People living in colder climates can supplement themselves during winter with foods rich in vitamin D such as eggs or fortified cereals. Vitamin D supplements are also advisable.
Iodine is a mineral that is found in trace quantities in the body. It is of pivotal importance for the whole body including the teeth. How do minerals prevent tooth decay? It aids in the absorption of calcium, and as we all know, calcium is the main building block of all the bones and teeth. On the other hand, iodine is also the main mineral that supports the work of the thyroid gland – a gland found in the throat region and is responsible for regulating the metabolism of the body. In order to get sufficient quantities of iodine, iodized salt, seaweed, and sesame seeds should be consumed on a regular basis.
Vitamin E is important for keeping the gums healthy. It aids in preventing periodontitis—which refers to the inflammation of the tissues surrounding the tooth. This is achieved by the anti-inflammation and anti-oxidant properties of vitamin E. This vitamin stops the irritation of the gums. On the other hand, it also helps in inhibiting oxidation to gum tissues. To get sufficient vitamin E, foods that can be eaten are:
- Leavy greens
- Nuts and seeds
- Wheat germ oil
There are a couple of vitamins that fall under the B category. The most important ones for oral health are riboflavin and niacin. They are important in preventing infections and inflammation from occurring in the oral cavity. People who get canker sores or inflamed oral tissues should try to acquire more of this important vitamin in their diet. Visiting an orthodontist who can assist you in making the right steps in preventing teeth degeneration is also advisable.
Although calcium is the main building block of teeth and bones, it needs to pair up with phosphorus in order for the calcium to be absorbed into the body. When consuming calcium from natural resources, such as dairy, the two elements are paired together. This is not so in most calcium supplements.
In order to get the most of calcium supplements, phosphorus should be incorporated into the diet. This means eating more:
- Whole grains
The Big Picture
When you ask the question “which vitamins and minerals are good for me?”, there are just too many factors to be considered. The above-mentioned vitamins and minerals are just some of the essential food components you need to acknowledge when aiming for healthy teeth. Even so, it is not enough to mention only few vitamins and minerals when talking about something as complex as the human body.
Many of these vitamins need to work together instead of being taken separately in order to give a stronger effect. As mentioned, calcium is a mineral that requires incorporation of other minerals in order to be fully absorbed and utilized by the body. That is why a complex solution to individual cases is required. This way, the client can be assured that they are doing the right thing for their oral health. This can be achieved with the assistance of your orthodontist. Ask about what needs to be corrected in your diet in order for you to obtain an excellent oral health and a smile that lasts.
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7 Important Vitamins and Minerals for Healthy Teeth
Dr. Michael McDermott earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in both Chemistry and Biology from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. He followed his undergraduate degrees with a doctorate in dental surgery at the University of Minnesota, where he graduated with highest distinction.
Dr. Mike then furthered his dental education by earning a masters and certificate in Orthodontics at the University of St. Louis in Missouri.