Oral Health and Nutrition

Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Lincolnshire

nutrition

Vitamins are an essential part of our daily nutrition. We all require specific vitamins to support our overall health and well-being. But research shows a significant link between overall health and dental health, describing the mouth as the “portal” to the body. Therefore, eating a healthy diet and getting enough vitamins and minerals is good for your body and your teeth and gums.

Ideally, we should obtain the necessary nutrients from natural food sources. However, not everyone eats healthy foods as recommended to get enough vitamins. Therefore, many people take a daily multivitamin to fill the gap. Look for these nutrients on your multivitamin label to ensure your body gets the nutrition it needs.

Please note, however, that you should consult your primary care physician before taking vitamins and supplements to ensure you take the appropriate amounts for you.

Calcium

Calcium is most known for supporting bone health and is good for your dental health. If you aren’t getting enough of this mineral, your body absorbs it from your teeth and bones, which could increase your risk of tooth decay. Dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese, leafy greens, almonds, sardines, and oysters are the best natural calcium sources.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is most often associated with eye health, although it is also just as essential for your oral health by supporting healthy salivary gland function. Since dry mouth can increase your risk of gum disease, maintaining healthy saliva glands is a critical part of maintaining your oral health. Active, flowing saliva naturally rinses your teeth between brushing, helping lower your risk of tooth decay. The best food sources for vitamin A include fish, egg yolks, kale, yams, and sweet potatoes.

B Vitamins

Maintaining healthy gums and soft oral tissue is necessary for good oral health. Riboflavin (B-2) and niacin (B-3) are essential vitamins that promote dental health by providing anti-inflammatory properties, warding canker sores, inflamed gums, and oral inflammation. Dairy products, red meat, legumes, spinach, and almonds are rich sources of niacin and riboflavin (B-vitamins).

Vitamin C

Most people associate vitamins C with immune support, but it also helps promote connective tissue health in the mouth. If you lack vitamin C, you may experience loose or weak teeth and are at a higher risk of developing gingivitis and gum disease. Historically, vitamin C deficiency resulted in scurvy, with tooth loss being a prominent side effect of this disease. Therefore, vitamin C is necessary for healthy teeth and gums. Be sure to get enough vitamin C by including lemons, limes, and other citrus fruits, peppers, kale, sweet potatoes, and berries in your diet.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D and calcium go hand in hand because your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. You can get vitamin D from the sun, although wearing sunscreen may prevent your body from absorbing enough. Therefore, focus on eating vitamin D-enriched dairy products like milk or yogurt. Or you can take vitamin D supplements each day. Most people are vitamin D deficient, although you should have your level checked by your doctor to ensure you take an appropriate amount for your body.

Vitamin E

With its anti-inflammatory properties, vitamin E may help reduce the risk of gum disease. This vitamin may also help prevent swelling and oxidation. The best sources of vitamin E are wheat germ, vegetable oil, seeds and nuts, avocados, and fish.

Iron

Good sources of iron are red meat and eggs, although you can also consume iron-fortified foods like bread and cereals. Our red blood cells depend on iron. Without it, you could suffer from iron deficiency, which could cause dizziness, pale skin, weakness, headaches, and extreme fatigue. Unfortunately, insufficient iron could also affect your teeth and gums. Your body may struggle to fight inflammation and infections, which could put you at risk of developing gingivitis or gum disease even if you brush and floss daily.

Potassium

Potassium plays a significant role in maintaining healthy teeth and gums. It helps prevent tooth enamel demineralization, which can lower your risk of tooth decay. Potassium also aids in blood clotting, which is essential when recovering from oral surgery or if you battle gum disease and experience bleeding gums when you brush and floss your teeth. Cheese, milk, leafy greens, avocados, and bananas are excellent sources of potassium.

Phosphorus

New studies prove that the body requires phosphorus to absorb calcium fully. Pairing these two minerals could help strengthen your tooth structure since dental enamel relies on adequate calcium levels. Phosphorus can be obtained from dairy products (cheese, milk, yogurt) and red meats.

Should I take supplements?

Many supplements exist, but it is essential only to take the amount you need, and the best way to find that out is to have blood drawn by your doctor to check your levels. That way, you know exactly which vitamins and supplements you need to take. However, for most individuals, eating a well-balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, and lean meats, you should get most of the nutrients you need. Health experts agree that processed, fried, or sugary foods are not good for our bodies. Additionally, these foods promote tooth decay and are more likely to cause gastrointestinal issues like acid reflux, which is when stomach acid flows back into the throat and mouth. Repeated exposure to stomach acid in the mouth could erode dental enamel and destroy your teeth. Therefore, limit foods that irritate your stomach or gastrointestinal tract. By committing to a healthy diet, your smile will benefit too.

Family Dentists in Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Lincolnshire

Lake Forest Dentistry is a family dental practice that has served the Lake Forest community for more than 30 years. We take a whole-health approach to treating patients because we believe that the health of the entire body is impacted by and connected to dental health. That is why we encourage patients to eat a healthy diet. If you would like to learn more about improving your dental health or ways to eat healthily, contact Lake Forest Smiles by calling (847) 234-4800.

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