A healthy balanced diet is key to maintaining good oral health. A balanced diet provides the right quantities of vitamins and minerals. If the diet is not balanced, it can lead to deficiency diseases. Taking large amounts of vitamins and minerals is not healthy either. Therefore, the correct amount of vitamins and minerals is necessary for the proper functioning of cells and tissues and to fight infections.
Certain vitamins and minerals are particularly important for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. They play a crucial role in preventing tooth decay, gum disease and other conditions. Here are some of the important vitamins and minerals.
Calcium. The teeth are mostly made of calcium. Calcium is needed to keep the enamel of the teeth and bones that support the teeth healthy. If the diet does not contain sufficient amounts of calcium, it can lead to weakening of teeth, tooth decay and gum disease. Good sources of calcium include milk and other dairy products, beans and kale. If you have calcium deficiency, your doctor may also prescribe calcium supplements.
Vitamin D. Vitamin D is necessary for calcium absorption. Vitamin D deficiency can cause weakening of the bones and teeth. It also causes a condition known as ‘burning mouth syndrome’ which results in a metallic taste and dryness in the mouth. Vitamin D is present in milk, eggs and fish.
Iron. Iron is very important for normal functioning of the body. It plays a crucial role in the transportation of oxygen in the blood. Iron deficiency can cause anemia and weakening of the immune system. It can also lead to inflammation of the tongue and cause sores in the mouth. Iron deficiency can also make your mouth prone to bacterial infections. Important sources of iron include the red meats and chilies.
Magnesium. Magnesium is another important mineral needed by the body. It is necessary for building the enamel of the teeth. It also prevents formation of dental caries. Magnesium deficiency can cause discoloration of the teeth and increase the risk of dental cavities. Important sources of magnesium include spinach, kale and other green leafy vegetables.
Zinc. Zinc is necessary for proper functioning of the immune system. Taking foods rich in zinc can prevent bacterial growth and buildup of plaque. Zinc deficiency can increase the risk of gum disease. Good sources of zinc include meats, wheat, rice and other cereals.
Vitamin C. Deficiency of vitamin C can lead to bleeding gums and gingivitis. In some cases, it can also cause loose teeth. Since vitamin C is water-soluble, the body cannot retain it for longer periods of time. Therefore, it is advisable to take foods rich in vitamin C regularly. Good sources of vitamin C include peppers, citrus fruits and sweet potatoes.
Vitamin A. Vitamin A helps in keeping the tissues of the mouth healthy. It also maintains healthy saliva which controls the growth of bacteria and other harmful microbes in the mouth. Good sources of vitamin A include spinach, sweet potatoes, carrots and other colored vegetables.
Vitamin B12. Deficiency of vitamin B12 can cause sores in the mouth. Vitamin B12 is also water-soluble and therefore should be taken regularly. Vitamin B12 is present in dairy products, meat and fish.
Vitamin B3. Vitamin B3 plays an important role in cellular metabolism. It enables cells to derive energy from glucose. It is also important for the normal functioning of the nervous system. Vitamin B3 deficiency can result in bad breath and sores in the mouth. Vitamin B3 is found in chicken and fish.