We need nutrients to keep our whole body healthy, including our gums and teeth. Sufficient intake of vitamins and minerals will help boost the body immunity and keep the body functions running well.
We can improve the health of our gums and teeth by giving it the right nutrients through a healthy diet. Some vitamins and minerals are essential to keep our teeth and gums healthy. Let us learn more about what vitamins and minerals that are important for healthy gums and teeth.
Types of Vitamins to Maintain Oral Health
There are 13 vitamins that our body needs to stay healthy. The vitamins that are essential for oral health include:
1. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is commonly known to be good for your eyes, but they also play a function in keeping the mucus membranes healthy. Mucous membranes are found in the area between the gums and teeth. Vitamin A also helps to prevent dry mouth by keeping the salivary glands working properly. The presence of sufficient saliva in the mouth is important to prevent oral bacteria from multiplying and the build-up of plaque.
The foods that have vitamin A are fish, egg yolks, dairy products, fruits and vegetables that are orange in colours such as carrot, oranges, pumpkin and sweet potatoes. Green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach and collard greens also have an abundance of vitamin A.
2. Vitamin B
Vitamin B helps to keep the mouth free from gum inflammation and sores such as cankers sores or ulcers. The two types of vitamin B that do this job are vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin).
Foods that are rich in vitamin B include fish, red meat, dairy products, green leafy vegetables, legumes, beans and almonds.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is important to the health of gums as it supports the growth and repair of body tissues including gums and other oral tissues. Vitamin C is also essential for the making of collagen, which is an important part in the maintenance of cartilage and bones. Lack of vitamin C causes gum disease, bleeding gum, tooth loss and skin problems.
Foods that are high in vitamin C include citrus fruits like lemons, oranges and grapefruits; green leafy vegetables like kale, broccoli and spinach; sweet potatoes and berries such as strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.
4. Vitamin D
Calcium is needed to keep our teeth strong and healthy. Vitamin D plays an important is helping the body to absorb the calcium we take, carry and deposit it in the bones and teeth. When the body does not have enough vitamin D, it will not be able to absorb the calcium efficiently and this can result in loss of bone density and weakens the teeth.
The best source of vitamin D is natural sunlight. You can get enough vitamin D by spending 15 minutes out in the sun every day. Vitamin D can also be found in foods such as dairy products like milk, cheese and yoghurt; fatty fish such as cod, salmon and mackerel; mushrooms and orange juice.
5. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is known to prevent gum disease. Its anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce inflammation and prevent the gums from swelling.
Foods that have vitamin E include nuts, seeds, fish, green leafy vegetables and avocado.
6. Vitamin K
Vitamin K is needed in the body to help with the blood clotting process and healing of wounds. There are studies to show that vitamin K helps to improve bone density and maintain strong bones and teeth.
Foods that are high in vitamin K include green leafy vegetables, dairy products, soya bean oil, beef liver, prunes and green beans.
Types of Minerals to Keep Teeth Healthy
Besides vitamins, we also need to take minerals to build maintain a healthy body. Some of the minerals which we need to maintain a healthy set of teeth are:
Calcium is found mainly in bones and teeth. If we do not eat enough calcium, the body will draw its need for calcium from our bones and teeth. This will weaken our bones and teeth, causing osteoporosis and tooth decay. Therefore, it is important to consume enough calcium to maintain strong bones and teeth, to keep our body healthy. Our body needs calcium to help with the remineralisation and strengthening of the tooth enamel.
Foods that are high in calcium include dairy product like milk and yoghurt, green leafy vegetables, beans, almonds, oysters and canned sardines with bones.
Phosphorus is an important mineral that is needed to help strengthen bones and teeth. For the body to be able to fully absorb the calcium, there must be the presence of phosphorus. Therefore, calcium and phosphorus work hand in hand to provide the protection and maintenance of your bones and teeth.
Phosphorus is found in most dairy products together with calcium. Calcium is also found in meat, seafood, pumpkin seeds, dried fruits, eggs, nuts and legumes.
Another essential mineral for the maintenance of bone and teeth is potassium. It helps strengthen bones and teeth preventing bone brittleness and tooth decay. Potassium is also important for blood clotting. High levels of potassium in the body help the blood to clot faster and heal the wound quickly.
Foods that are good sources of potassium are dairy products, tomatoes, mushrooms, legumes, potatoes, bananas and avocados.
Iron is a very important mineral that the body needs to maintain the red blood cell counts at a healthy level. Iron deficiency in your body can cause extreme fatigue, dizziness and headaches. As lack of iron weakens the body, making it vulnerable to infections and inflammations including oral inflammation that can lead to gum disease and tooth loss.
Red meats, seafood, green leafy vegetables, beans and iron-fortified cereal and bread are good sources of iron.
Why Do We Need Vitamins and Minerals for Healthy Gums and Teeth?
Vitamins and minerals are essential to keep the body healthy and strong. We need to pay attention to the foods that we consume to ensure that we have sufficient intake of the required vitamins and minerals.
We need to pay attention to our oral health as poor oral health will affect the rest of the body. If we do not ensure that we take enough of the vitamins and minerals that help to maintain our oral health, it can result in dental problems that can eventually affect the other parts of our body. Taking vitamins and minerals that boost our immune system is also good for our teeth and gums.
Do We Need Vitamin Supplements? Or Eating the Right Foods Is Good Enough
Taking a healthy and balanced diet consisting of fresh foods should provide your body with enough vitamins and minerals that it needs. However, many people relied too much on processed food which tends to have fewer nutrients as compared to fresh foods. The nutrients are lost through the manufacturing process.
Therefore, for those who take a lot of processed foods may not get enough vitamins and minerals. As we age, our body will not be able to absorb the nutrients from the body well. So, we even if we eat a healthy diet, we may not get the necessary vitamins and minerals need to keep our body healthy.
Vitamin supplements are needed to fulfil any shortfalls in our daily intake of foods. As it is difficult to track which type of vitamins and minerals are missing in our diet, taking a multivitamin supplement is a good way to ensure that any missing gaps in nutrients are covered.
Eat Your Colours
Our body needs enough vitamins and minerals to perform the various functions to keep us healthy and strong. Therefore, it is important to consume foods that give us the necessary nutrients that can maintain our body and keep it running smoothly.
There so many types of vitamins and minerals that we need to eat and we may find it difficult for us to keep track of what we need to eat. A simple way to ensure that you get enough nutrients in your body is to eat a colourful diet. Eat your colours or eat your rainbow as taught to kids, is something that nutritionists and health authorities have been advocating.
Following a colourful diet is a good way not just to keep your teeth and gums healthy, it is also keeping your whole body healthy and strong.