A well-balanced diet will have a positive impact on your health, and can help to fight oral diseases and keep your teeth and gum healthy. Studies reveal that low levels of nutrients and minerals in your diet can reduce your resistance to infections and adversely affect your oral health, which can lead to gum diseases, dental cavities, infection of mouth tissues and loss of teeth. Insufficient levels of nutrients can also cause problems and complications during the developmental stages in young children.
So, what nutrients and minerals and what type of food should we have in our diet to ensure oral health?
Here is a list of important vitamins and minerals for oral health:
Promotes strong teeth and jaw bone support. Calcium exists in any dairy products, such as yogurt, milk and cheese. This type of calcium is easily absorbed by the body. Alternative options for a vegan diet include green leafy vegetables, fortified cereals, blackstrap molasses, broccoli and beans.
Also, canned salmon and sardines with bones are very good sources of calcium.
2. Vitamin D
Helps the body with absorption of calcium into the bloodstream, which helps with building strong bones and teeth.
Vitamin D is found in milk, egg yolk, fish; as well as limited exposure to sunshine.
This element, which can be found in teeth, is important for maintenance and repair of bodily tissues, including the mouth. It helps balance base/acid and improve metabolism. Phosphorus can be found in milk, grains and lean meat.
4. Vitamin C
Helps to produce collagen, a main structural protein in the connective tissues that hold jaw bones together. It also helps to build blood vessels and is very important for tissue regeneration.
Lack of vitamin C can lead to bleeding gums and loose teeth.
Vitamin C is found in a variety of fruits and vegetables such as oranges, strawberries, pineapple, sweet potato, raw red peppers, etc.
Iron deficiency can lead to inflammation of the tongue and regular mouth sores. Serious iron deficiency can cause anemia that will reduce oxygen in the body and decrease the hemoglobin count. It can affect oral health and cause chronic pain due to sores and inflammation.
Iron is found in red meat, fish, poultry, nuts, vegetables and fortified cereals.
6. Vitamin A
Helps to form and maintain mouth tissues. It keeps mucus membrane healthy and heals sores and wounds.
Sources of vitamin A include spinach, kale, apricot, orange colored vegetables, cantaloupe and sweet potato.
7. Vitamins B2, B3, B12
Lack of vitamin B3 (Niacin) can lead to bad breath and canker sores. Other mouth sores can develop as a result of insufficient levels of B2 (Riboflavin) and B12.
Sources of these vitamins include chicken, pork, fish, liver, pasta, spinach, almonds, as well as some dairy products.
8. Vitamin K
Helps to synthesize proteins and develop bone strength. It also has a vital role in blood clotting.
Vitamin K is found in leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, fish, egg and liver.
Magnesium is important for bone and teeth developmental growth and to prevent dental cavities.
Sources of magnesium are green vegetables and nuts.
Helps to reduce calcium loss and promotes healthy mineral density that keeps the jaw bone and teeth healthy. Potassium prevents the blood from becoming acidic, which can reduce calcium in the body and the teeth.
Sources of potassium are beans, avocado, tomatoes, Swiss chard and potato.