What Everyone Should Know About Vitamins, Minerals and Oral Health

We know vitamins and minerals benefit our bodies, but did you know they affect our oral health? We pay attention to our appearance, wanting to look our best, but often don’t think about our teeth and gums which can lead to infected gums, jawbone loss and weak teeth. Vitamins and minerals consumed in foods or as supplements can improve oral health, while a deficiency can greatly cause a decline.
VITAMIN C
1. Assists in formation of collagen, a protein necessary for tooth and bone formation and wound healing.
2. Important to repair teeth, bone, blood vessels, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons.
3. Helps the body absorb calcium for tooth and bone development.
4. Serves as an antioxidant.
5. Is an anti-inflammatory helping to prevent swollen gums.
6. Aids in a strong immune system.
7. May help reduce plaque formation by decreasing harmful bacteria.
Vitamin C is found in fruits and vegetables such as citrus fruits, pumpkin, strawberries, papaya, cantaloupe, kiwi, broccoli, potatoes, and bell pepper.
A deficiency in vitamin C can result in incomplete formation of teeth, decreased bone formation, weakened collagen formation causing bone loss, swollen gums, and a higher risk for gum disease.
VITAMIN D
1. Helps the body absorb calcium and phosphate necessary for bone and teeth development.
2. Is an anti-inflammatory that helps prevent swollen gums.
Vitamin D is found in yogurt, dairy products, salmon, tuna, pork, eggs, shitake mushrooms, and through sun exposure.
A deficiency in vitamin D causes decreased calcium absorption and impaired bone mineralization.
VITAMIN E
Vitamin E is an antioxidant and promotes wound healing and healthy gums and skin. It is found in avocados, spinach, kale, asparagus, bell pepper, sunflower seeds, almonds, safflower oil, peanut butter, tomatoes, and papaya.
VITAMIN A and K
1. Essential in the formation of enamel (outer layer of teeth) and dentin (inner layer).
2. Promotes bone growth and bone density.
Sources of vitamin A include dairy products, beef, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, and kale.
Sources of vitamin K include brussel sprouts, spinach, kale, and broccoli.
VITAMIN B
Sources of vitamin B include fish, red meat, mushrooms, whole grains, lentils, beans, potatoes, chili peppers, and bananas.
A deficiency can cause canker sores, sore gums, and a painful tongue.
CALCIUM AND PHOSPHATE
1. Necessary for teeth and bone formation.
2. Strengthens teeth.
3. Helps prevent cavities.
Sources of calcium include nuts, cheese, yogurt, milk, eggs, garlic, salmon, dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, and quinoa.
Sources of phosphate include cheese, yogurt, milk, sardines, and dark green leafy vegetables.
Calcium and phosphate are also found in the saliva from consuming mineral supplements.
A deficiency leads to damaged enamel from consumption of acidic foods and beverages allowing bacteria to enter and cause cavities.
MAGNESIUM
Helps maintain calcium balance and is found in mineral supplements.
Sources of magnesium include herbs, flax, sesame seeds, almonds, squash, pumpkin, potatoes, and soybeans.
A deficiency leads to incomplete formation of teeth and insufficient bone growth in the jaw, potentially causing loose teeth.
Those most susceptible to vitamin and mineral deficiencies include infants, children, elderly, pregnant women, patients with autoimmune diseases, those under stress, smokers, alcoholics, and those with inadequate nutritional balance including vegans.
Most people don’t consume adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals through their daily diet. While it’s best to obtain these nutrients by balanced nutrition, supplements can help maintain balance if taken at recommended amounts. Vitamins and minerals are vital to the formation and maintenance of teeth and jawbone and the preservation of oral health.