Incorporating the best vitamins for teeth into your diet is essential to good oral health. Mouth health and overall health are linked by immunity, bacteria, and other factors. Severe gum disease (periodontal disease), which is an immunity issue, is linked to diseases such as diabetes and AIDS. Cardiovascular disease and endocarditis are also indicated by and associated with oral health. Oral hygiene and general health go hand in hand, making dental care and nutrition priorities in wellness planning.
Along with maintaining healthy gums and teeth through flossing and brushing, our teeth, like the rest of our body, require nutrients in order to be healthy. And while nutrients occur naturally in food and many are provided in a healthy diet, it may be beneficial to take vitamin and mineral supplements to keep your mouth healthy. For example, most Americans do not get enough vitamin D, so taking a supplement might be in order. When routine blood tests show deficiencies, this is another instance in which dietary supplements are beneficial for health. The body also decreases calcium production at a certain age, making calcium intake especially important to bone and tooth health. Calcium deficiency is especially prevalent in women over 50.
Of course, getting nutrients from the food we consume is ideal, so in this article, we’re going to share some food sources and supplements that encourage oral health. Fortunately, there are many quality vitamin manufacturers should you or your doctor determine you need supplements.
Below are the most important vitamins for tooth health.
1. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is essential in the production of healthy tooth enamel. It interacts with the protein, kerotin, which acts in forming and strengthening tooth enamel. Vitamin A is also essential for gum health, in part, because it combats dry mouth, which can be caused by medications, open-mouth sleeping, or certain diseases.
A useful tip for getting vitamin A in your diet is it comes in foods that are orange including sweet potatoes and other vegetables. A1, also called retinol, also comes from protein-rich foods including eggs, cheddar cheese, certain fish (like bluefin tuna), and some cuts of red meat. Note that vitamin A is concentrated in the liver of some species, so foods like cow liver can give you more than your daily requirement. Beef liver has over 733% of your daily vitamin A requirements and lamb liver has 236%. A single teaspoon of cod liver oil has 150% of your daily requirements, so if you think you are not meeting your daily needs in your diet, a cod liver oil supplement may be beneficial. Note that the daily recommended amount of vitamin A is 900 micrograms (mcg) for male adults and 700 mcg for adult females.
Vitamin A-Rich Foods
- Beef liver
- Lamb liver
- Cod liver oil
- Bluefin tuna and other fish
- Chedder cheese
- Egg yolks
- Sweet potatoes
- Leafy greens
- Whole-grain cereals
2. Vitamin B
Vitamin B 12 deficiencies have been linked to gingivitis, periodontitis, and other gum diseases in this 2017 study of children aged 12 to 14. B vitamins also aid in wound healing (we frequently “wound” our mouths in the process of eating). B vitamins play a role in sugar absorption, so high sugar intake can reduce the amount of vitamin B in one’s system. Vitamin B levels can be readily obtained from a blood test to detect B-deficiency, but a healthy diet can help ensure good oral health.
Vitamin B-Rich Foods
- Salmon and other fish
- Leafy greens
- Milk and milk products
- Animal liver (beef, lamb, fish)
- Whole-grain cereals (high in these B vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B9)
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and plays a part in collagen synthesis, which is essential to healthy teeth and overall oral health. Along with calcium, vitamin C plays a strong role in developing strong teeth. It is a vitamin not produced in the body, but the great news is that it comes in many delicious foods, both fruits (especially citrus fruits) and vegetables. Vegetables containing vitamin C include leafy greens and kale. Guava is the highest-ranked source of vitamin C with 366 mg per cup or 419% of the daily recommended value.
Vitamin C-Rich Foods
- Brussels sprouts
- Green bell peppers
- Sour cherries
Vitamin C-rich foods also provide lots of overall health benefits in addition to oral health including feeding the connective tissue in our body and boosting our immune systems. When might you need a vitamin C supplement? When you are unable to get the recommended daily amounts from your diet. According to recent research, “For adults, the recommended daily amount for vitamin C is 65 to 90 milligrams (mg) a day, and the upper limit is 2,000 mg a day.” It would take a lot of food consumption to pass that limit, but it would be easy to not meet the recommendation. Note that the recommendations for children are lower. The National Institute of Health has a vitamin C dosage breakdown organized by age, gender, and other factors.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D, a vitamin not produced automatically in our bodies, is essential to teeth health. Vitamin D is one of the most essential vitamins to oral and general health because it impacts immunity and helps other minerals like calcium do their job. Vitamin D is often combined with calcium in supplements due to their linked nutritional properties. Many Americans are vitamin-D deficient because we simply can’t spend the necessary amount of time in the sun to get our daily allowance. Vitamin D is produced when ultraviolet rays from the sun impact cholesterol in skin cells, which causes D synthesis in the body.
Supplements for vitamin D are often necessary to meet the daily requirements, but there are foods that have vitamin D to supplement what you absorb through the sun.
Vitamin D-Rich Foods
- Cod liver oil
- Livers from animals (beef and lamb)
- Salmon and other fatty fish
- Milk products including cheese
- Egg yolks
Calcium partners with Vitamin D to keep your bones strong and your teeth healthy. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus, both of which are essential for strong tooth enamel. Having healthy enamel ensures erosion resistance, which is vital in maintaining good oral health.
Calcium supplements are recommended by many medical professionals for women, but especially for women over fifty. However, calcium is readily available in foods, especially dairy products. Calcium-recommended-daily values vary by the organization making the recommendations. Check out this Harvard article for more information.
- Seeds such as pumpkin seeds
- Beans and lentils
- Some leafy greens
Eating a balanced diet, maintaining good dental hygiene, getting regular dental care, and taking the right vitamins and supplements can keep your teeth and the rest of you in healthy shape. Learn more about dental care and the services we offer to keep your teeth at 100%.
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