When you plan your diet, do you plan it around your dental health care needs? Your teeth and gums need vitamins and minerals as much as the rest of your body does. Inadequate amounts of certain nutrients can lead to deficiencies and an increased risk of infection. A poor diet can lead to dental diseases, tooth loss, and obesity, all of which are closely linked.
Your teeth and jawbones are large bones, and they require calcium for healthy growth. Inadequate calcium intake can increase your risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and bone deterioration. Calcium can be found in milk, cheese, and other dairy products as well as in beans, broccoli, and oysters. Vitamin D works hand-in-hand with calcium and is essential to helping your body absorb the mineral properly. Fortified dairy products, fish, and egg yolks are all good sources of vitamin D.
B vitamins also play an important role in your dental health. Vitamin B3 can help reduce the incidence of canker sores and bad breath while inadequate levels of vitamin B12 and B2 are linked with mouth sores. Vitamin B3 can be found in fish and chicken, and B2 and B12 can be found in pasta, bread, and almonds.
Vitamin C is associated with strong, healthy gums. If you fail to get enough vitamin C in your diet, you may suffer from sore or bleeding gums or loose teeth. Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits, bell peppers, kiwis, cantaloupes, and sweet potatoes.
Fluoride helps your teeth remineralize more quickly and prevent cavity formation. Fluoride is commonly added to public water supplies. If your community does not fluoridate or you drink bottled water, talk to your dentist about using fluoride supplements. Using a fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse can also help your teeth get more of this vital nutrient.