Proper care for your teeth starts at home. Beyond brushing and flossing, what else can you do to take care of your teeth in between cleanings? Diet, as it turns out, is also vitally important when it comes to your oral health.
- Vitamin A: While it is commonly said to be great for your eyes, Vitamin A also has a role with your oral health. Vitamin A helps keep the mucous membranes that coat the inside of your mouth healthy while keeping your saliva production up. Saliva is essential for keeping your teeth healthy and preventing cavities. Vitamin A can be found in carrots, peppers, sweet potatoes, spinach, and even proteins like eggs and fish.
- Vitamin B: The B complex vitamins play a number of roles when it comes to your overall physical health. As far as your mouth is concerned, B vitamins will naturally reduce the amount of inflammation that you might have in your gums. They will also help prevent canker sores. You can find B vitamins in most meats, including poultry, red meat, and fish, as well as leafy greens and almonds.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is known to help boost your immune system, but it also can help keep your teeth healthy. By maintaining the connective tissues within your gums, Vitamin C can naturally help ward off periodontal disease, which is the number one cause of tooth loss. You can get Vitamin C from citrus fruits as well as sweet potatoes, peppers, and even broccoli.
- Calcium: You might already know that calcium is essential in keeping your bones strong and healthy, which also applies to your teeth. Both your jaw and your teeth are made up of calcium-rich bones. Without enough calcium, your teeth will weaken, as well as the jaw that holds them in place. You can find calcium in dairy, dark leafy green vegetables, such as kale, almonds, and legumes.
- Phosphorus: There are two minerals and vitamins that help your body absorb the calcium it needs to keep bones strong: phosphorus and Vitamin D. Phosphorus should be paired with calcium, allowing your body to take in the calcium and use it rather than just metabolizing it. Many calcium supplements lack phosphorus, so if your doctor has recommended a calcium supplement, be sure it contains phosphorus.
- Vitamin D: Like phosphorus, Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium. Without Vitamin D, bodies do not grow correctly as bones will not have the strength they require. Many Vitamin D deficiencies result in calcium deficiencies. You can get Vitamin D from milk, eggs, and seafood, but you can also get it from sitting in the sun for 15 minutes a day. Depending on your skin, however, you should be cautious when using the sun to provide your Vitamin D needs.
- Fluoride: You might not know it, but fluoride is a mineral that naturally occurs in many places, including your teeth. Fluoride helps your teeth by promoting the remineralization of your tooth enamel, helping keep it safe from decay. While your toothpaste should already have it, you can also get fluoride from black tea and seafood. In some places, the local water has added fluoride to help keep teeth healthy.
Before starting a new diet or supplements, make sure to talk to your doctor first to find out what is the safest choice for you.