The amount of information available on how to eat healthy can be very overwhelming! In every situation, the most important aspect is prioritizing nutrient-rich ingredients. Instead of always thinking about what foods you should avoid (keeping in mind that sugar is always the worst offender for your teeth!), sometimes just focusing on what to enjoy can be helpful. Certain vitamins and minerals rise to the top when the task required is protecting your teeth and gums. Fortunately, all of these nutrients are readily available, so it’s easy to include them in your diet! Here are four of the main vitamins and minerals that are essential for keeping your teeth strong and gums healthy:
This vitamin is beneficial for more than just your eyesight! Vitamin A performs a number of tasks when it comes to oral health. It aids in tissue building inside your mouth, fortifying the mucous membranes that protects your gums and cheeks. Vitamin A also aids in producing saliva, which is necessary for balancing the pH of the mouth and cleaning out bacteria and food debris. Look for this essential vitamin in orange-colored fruits and vegetables, such as sweet potato carrots, and bell peppers, and in some green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale. Other non-produce sources include dairy products that come from grass-fed cows, eggs yolks, and fish.
This mineral is famous for it’s bone-building properties, and it is absolutely necessary not only for teeth, but for the jaw as well! If the jaw is not functioning properly, a whole host of dental issues can ensue, so taking care of it should be a top priority for your oral health. When the body is low in calcium, it will take it from the bones first, as that is the main place where calcium is stored. This mineral can be found in many foods, including dairy products, almonds, leafy greens, legumes, and sardines. Calcium supplements are also a convenient way to boost your intake, but nothing can replace consuming the mineral naturally in food.
Phosphorous is second only to calcium as the most present mineral in your body. The majority of phosphorous is located in the teeth and is necessary for strengthening enamel. Calcium cannot do its job without phosphorous, and fortunately, most calcium-rich foods include phosphorous as well. Calcium supplements, on the other hand, do not typically include the mineral, so if your main source of calcium is in supplement-form you will have to be conscious about consuming phosphorous on its own.
This vitamin, like phosphorous, is necessary for proper calcium absorption. In fact, without the right levels of vitamin D consumption, very little calcium can be absorbed at all. This powerhouse vitamin is vital for bone density, and without it, the teeth become weaker and gums are at higher risk for infection. Sunlight is a great source of natural vitamin D, along with many foods, including fatty fish, egg yolks, fortified foods such as milk and cereal, and cheese.
The most important thing to focus on when it comes to diet is the necessary nutrients to include, rather than always focusing on what to avoid. Of course, staying away from processed foods and sugary drinks is crucial for protection against decay and infection, but making the effort to not only eliminate bad foods but include the nutritious ones will have a big pay-off for your dental health. There’s no substitute for a wholesome diet when it comes to keeping not just your teeth, but your whole mouth healthy.