As we approach winter, we start to stock up on multivitamins to keep us feeling fit and on top form. But vitamins and minerals are also essential for a healthy mouth. Here are some of the major players to keep your teeth and gums in good shape as we enter the period of sniffles (and overindulgence)!
The biggie we all know about, calcium is important to keep your teeth strong because they are largely made of bone. Keeping your calcium intake high is also beneficial for your jaw, keeping your teeth in place. If you don’t have enough calcium, you risk a higher chance of tooth decay and even gum disease.
Where to find: Milk, other dairy products, leafy greens, nuts and seeds, fortified tofu and cereals
It might surprise you, but your body contains more phosphorus than any other mineral. What’s more, your teeth are home to most of it. Essential to tissue repair, it works like a dream team with calcium to ensure strong and healthy teeth.
Where to find: Protein-rich foods, including eggs, meats, seafood, beans, nuts and seeds, and dairy products
Part of the great multivitamin trinity for your teeth, vitamin D also works alongside calcium to keep your bones healthy, just like phosphorous. Vitamin D instructs your intestines to absorb the calcium in your diet, thereby strengthening your teeth and bones. Noticing a dry mouth or even a bitter or metallic taste? It’s time to stock up on the vitamin D.
Where to find: Dairy products, oily fish, fortified cereals and natural sunlight
Vitamin B is an all-round anti-inflammatory, making it excellent for your mouth, preventing canker sores and gum disease. B12 and B2 also help with the development of strong bones and teeth, as well as cell renewal, which is important for repairing any damage to tissues.
Vegans and vegetarians are most likely to suffer from a deficiency of vitamin B12 because it is largely found in animal products. However, fortified foods are available.
Where to find: Red meat, chicken, fish, mushrooms, fortified cereals, pasta spinach, almonds and dairy products
Another great all-rounder, vitamin K is essential to help your body heal itself when it needs to, and it can help prevent tooth decay.
Where to find: leafy greens including kale, spinach and broccoli
Magnesium and potassium
This double whammy is essential to help build strong teeth, bones and enamel – for added protection against tooth decay and cavities.
Where to find: Dark leafy greens (magnesium); bananas, potatoes, tomatoes and avocados (potassium)
A dry mouth is often to blame for bad breath and tooth decay. By helping to maintain mucous membranes – including supporting saliva production – vitamin A is crucial when it comes to naturally removing bacteria and food particles from your mouth, thus preventing plaque buildup and tooth decay. It also supports healthy tissues.
Where to find: Meat, dairy, fish, fruit and veg, including sweet potatoes
If you don’t get enough iron in your diet you might suffer from canker or cold sores and even inflammation of the tongue. It could also cause excess bacteria to accumulate in your mouth, speeding up tooth decay.
Where to find: Red meats, such as steak and offal, and leafy greens
If you want to keep your gums healthy, zinc is essential to help inhibit bacteria growth and plaque along your gum line – the most vulnerable part of your tooth.
Where to find: Cereal, cheese and beef
Vitamin C is great for your immune system and is of prime importance for your gums. If you are low on vitamin C, you might experience bleeding gums, also known as gingivitis, a forerunner of tooth loss.
Where to find: Sweet potatoes, uncooked red peppers and citrus fruits (though consume in moderation, followed by water, as they can be damaging to tooth enamel)
It’s always a good idea to enjoy a varied diet rich in protein, fruit and veg. This will help you get all the vitamins and minerals you need for a healthy mouth. But multivitamins are available if you are on a restricted diet.
Before making any dietary changes, however, speak to your dentist and your GP to ensure it is safe to do so. For more advice, contact us at Number 18 Dental.