You’re already aware that when you eat right your body is healthier and you will feel better. This has everything to with what kind of nutrients you are putting in your body. Your teeth are no exception to this concept, but are there any vitamins and minerals that are more beneficial than others?
We checked in with Brooklyn dentist Dr. Culpepper to see what vitamins and minerals his practice recommends to get the strongest and healthiest teeth possible. This is what he told us.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins that you can take. It is mostly found in dairy, which accompanies calcium. Vitamin D makes it easier for your bones to take in the calcium you are giving it, making it incredibly important. There are foods that contain Vitamin D, such as mushrooms, but it is in a lot of vitamin supplements as well. Vitamin D can also be acquired from the sun, which is where a lot of people get it, but that can be dangerous if you are getting too much sunlight. Sunlight is damaging to your skin as well, so be aware of that. If you live somewhere that does not have a lot of sunlight, taking a Vitamin D supplement might be in order, but check in with your doctor before you start adding anything.
- Calcium: You most likely already know that calcium is the number one mineral that your body needs for healthy teeth and bones. People with calcium deficiencies are more likely to suffer breaks and dental issues than those who have more calcium in their bodies. How it works is that calcium provides structural support for your teeth by strengthening your bone in your jaw as well as strengthening your tooth enamel. Calcium is commonly found in dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, but it is also found in leafy green vegetables, such as spinach. Salmon, surprisingly, is also rich in bone-fortifying calcium. It works best if you are taking it with Vitamin D at the same time, since they really work well as a team.
- Phosphorus: Just like Vitamin D, phosphorus works alongside calcium to strengthen your bones and your teeth. It lets your body to absorb the calcium more efficiently, really letting your body take in all of the calcium it can get, as long as you are consuming a phosphorus-rich diet. Luckily for you, phosphorus is easily found in many different foods and you likely eat it all of the time without even realizing it. Specific foods that have it in high quantities include cod, tuna, sardines, scallops, shrimp, salmon, as well as other seafood. If you are not a big seafood eater, do not worry. It also can be found in pumpkin, cheese, beef, pork, soybeans, and beans.
- Potassium: Potassium is another mineral that behaves like Vitamin D, but it works to improve your bone mineral density. Potassium’s job is to prevent your blood from becoming too acidic. Since acids will naturally wear down your teeth and bones, you will be more susceptible to breaks and far more prone to developing cavities. Potassium is also essential for heart patients and it has been shown that there is a correlation between heart disease and dental issues. Luckily, you can find potassium in a lot of foods, like bananas, potatoes, Swiss chard, prunes, avocados, lima beans, and tomatoes. Bananas are definitely the number one recommended source outside of your daily diet, because they are rich in it.
- Vitamin C: Another vitamin that can help strengthen your teeth and bones is Vitamin C. Vitamin C’s job is to keep your gums and your mouth clean and healthy. It will prevent early stages of gum disease, keeping your teeth securely in your mouth. The only tricky thing with Vitamin C is that it is commonly found in citrus fruits, such as lemons, grapefruit, and oranges, which are incredibly acidic and can damage your enamel. When your enamel is damaged, you are more susceptible to dental issues. Thankfully, there are lots of other fruits and vegetables also have Vitamin C, such as leafy greens, and even potatoes. Leafy greens are very good for your teeth, so you can eat them without fear of damaging the enamel on your teeth.
- Vitamin A: Vitamin A is another vitamin that your body needs to help keep your teeth and your bones as strong as possibly. Vitamin A works to help build up your gums’ defence against bacteria, which is a primary source of caries, or tooth decay. It has also been shown to help your mouth increase the density of your tooth enamel. It is easy to know which foods have a lot of Vitamin A, because they are commonly bright orange in colour. These include foods like sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, and carrots. It is also found in egg yolks, which might be more of a yellow-orange, but the rule still applies.
- Vitamin K: The last vitamin that we recommend for strong teeth and bones is Vitamin K. Vitamin K is a little different than the other minerals and vitamins out there, because it does not rely on any other mineral to work at helping your teeth. So many vitamins and minerals need to be taken together to get a full effect, but not Vitamin K. Its job is to prevent destructive substances from getting onto your teeth, creating a barrier to keep bacteria out. When you have a Vitamin K deficiency, you will be more prone to infection and your body will not heal as well as it should. Vitamin K also produces a protein that supports your overall bone health. Vitamin K is found in leafy greens, broccoli, and herbs.
It can be tricky to keep track of all of the foods that you should be eating, but as long as you keep a healthy diet of leafy greens, light dairy, and fish, most of the vitamins and minerals that you need to have strong teeth will be there.