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It has become a recent trend to take various supplements for different health conditions. You might have heard about the benefits of collagen supplements for your hair and nails, or vitamin D for boosting your mood. But, did you know that you can also take vitamins and minerals to help strengthen your teeth? It’s true! However, before rushing off to the store and haul for supplements, it is important to know not only what vitamins help strengthen the teeth, but also what benefits do these vitamins contribute to your oral health.
First of all, why are vitamins and minerals essential for healthy teeth? The answer lies behind the chemical makeup of your tooth enamel. Tooth enamel refers to the outer surface of the tooth—yes, the white part that is visible—which houses and protects the inner components from substances such as extremely acidic food or drink. Over time, the enamel will demineralize, and if not taken care of properly, may lead to brittle teeth, cavities or even gum disease. One way to both prevent the decay and to help strengthen teeth is by consuming a diet rich in vitamins and minerals that aid in the enamel repair process, which is called remineralization. It is especially important for children to have a nutritious diet, as any nutritional deficiencies during childhood may lead to a weakened or more brittle enamel which then could put them at risk for a higher rate of tooth decay later on in life.
In short, a good and nutritious diet with sufficient vitamins and minerals will help strengthen teeth and its surrounding structures. On the other hand, a diet that has inadequate or excessive incorporation of vitamins and minerals may cause weaker teeth, leading to cavities or tooth discoloration. A poor diet also increases the risk of gum disease, which could lead to a breakdown of tooth enamel and, in very severe cases, loosen roots that may cause teeth to fall out of the gums.
Not all vitamins will have an effect on your teeth. Hence, we have compiled a list below on what vitamins help strengthen teeth and also included areas on how these food essentials affect your teeth to better explain why they are necessary for optimum oral health.
Calcium is one of the largest components of bones, and can make up as much as 96% of tooth enamel. Calcium helps teeth maintain their strength and structure. One of the easiest ways to build healthy teeth is to obtain calcium from these foods:
- Milk and other dairy products
- Dark leafy greens such as kale or broccoli
2. Vitamin A
While many people think of vitamin A as the major vitamin needed for eyesight, getting enough of it is also extremely important in tooth health! Vitamin A plays a large role in keeping the saliva glands in the mouth working. This is important for our oral cavity because saliva helps in cleaning away any food particles, debris or destructive bacteria that may cause cavities or gum disease. It also aids in the remineralization process.
Foods that contain vitamin A are:
- Orange foods such as carrots or sweet potatoes
- Dark leafy greens such as collard greens or kale
Phosphorus promotes a vigorous environment for the teeth by playing an integral role in helping the body absorb calcium from consumed food and beverages. Think of it as a precursor for calcium to do its job of holding the teeth in place. Without enough phosphorus, calcium cannot be processed correctly which may lead to calcium deficiency, and thus, weaker bones and teeth.
Foods that contain phosphorus:
- Milk and other dairy products
- Red meat
- Whole grains
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is similar to phosphorus in that it also helps the body carry, absorb, and deposit calcium in bones and teeth. Plus, it helps in boosting mineral density in bones. Vitamin D can be obtained easily through sitting in sunlight for 20 minutes, but don’t worry if it is cloudy outside! Vitamin D can also be found in several different foods.
Sources that contain vitamin D are:
- Dairy products
- Some breakfast cereals
5. Vitamin E
Vitamin E acts as both an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory agent that can help reduce both chronic and acute inflammation in the mouth that may further lead to periodontal diseases. This means that it can be used to help prevent formation of ulcers and gum diseases. Foods rich in vitamin E are:
- Various seeds
- Green leafy vegetables
Fluoride helps to promote the remineralization and strengthening of tooth enamel and also helps to prevent tooth decay. While many towns already have fluoride added to their tap water, it is also present in many toothpastes and additional fluoride can be obtained by consuming beverages or eating food that contains it.
You can acquire fluoride from:
- Black tea
Magnesium is a mineral that works in conjunction with calcium to form hard tooth enamel that is resistant to tooth decay, and also helps in the enamel repair process. It is very important to get enough magnesium because a magnesium deficiency can cause a host of other problems that end up leading to tensing jaws and in developing a habit of grinding teeth—both of which can lead to a breakdown of tooth enamel and weaker teeth.
Foods that contain magnesium are:
- Green vegetables
- Dried fruit
While traditional orthodontic products such as braces, Invisalign, and retainers are very important to maintain proper teeth alignment and occlusion, adequate nutrition also plays a very significant key role in maintaining healthy and strong teeth. If you have any questions about the effects of your diet on your teeth, or you want to find out more of what to do to attain a robust oral health, feel free to stop by and ask your orthodontist further queries that would help you in achieving that beautiful and radiant smile!
7 Important Vitamins and Minerals for Healthy Teeth