We all know how food choices affect the body, but did you know they also affect oral health? It may not be as evident, but if you were to examine your mouth on a cellular level, you would find a wealth of health information there, often before health problems manifest elsewhere in your body. With that in mind, we’d like to share some dietary nutrients that impact your oral health, and offer some recommendations to improve your diet and your oral health.
Vitamins & Nutrients to Support Oral Health
So what did we mean when we said that you can detect health issues by analyzing your mouth? Well, our mouths contain special cells called mucosal cells, and they generally have a life cycle of 3-7 days. This means that they’re turning over and regenerating frequently, and providing up to date information on the rest of your system. So the first place you’ll be able to find nutritional surplus or deficiency is in your mouth! With this in mind, we wanted to share some nutritional findings that can help support oral (and overall) health.
- Protein, calcium, and phosphorus contribute to strong tooth structure. You can get protein from a wide variety of foods depending on your diet. Calcium can be found in almonds, broccoli, oranges, and cheese, while phosphorus can be found in a number of dairy, fish, and meat products. You could also opt to get phosphorus from certain nuts and beans.
- Nutrients like zinc, folate, iron, vitamins A, C, and D, Omega-3 fats, and antioxidants contribute to the development of mucosal cells and connective tissues as well as immune function. B vitamins support epithelial cell turnover.
- Studies have suggested that low levels of folate are associated with periodontal disease, so make sure you’re getting enough from foods like dark leafy greens, beans, peas, & lentils, or citrus fruits.
- Studies suggest that vitamin D and calcium may also enhance enamel remineralization. To support your usual hygiene efforts and strengthen enamel, snack on cheese, yogurt, tofu, salmon, or milk!
- Vitamin C also has been reported to help collagen maturation, which in turn helps maintain the integrity of the periodontal ligament. For this, make sure to have a share of strawberries, acerola cherries, bell peppers, or citrus fruit!
- Lastly, Omega-3 fats help with inflammatory response in the body. Mackerel, salmon, oysters, sardines, and anchovies have omega-3 fats in abundance. Not up for sea fare? Try working flaxseeds, chia seeds, or walnuts into your diet. Alternatively, you can opt for a fish oil supplement!
It’s important to keep in mind that each of these nutrients might have different outcomes for individuals based on their respective health situations. Be sure to consult a doctor before making any major dietary changes and to ensure there won’t be any adverse effects.
If we’ve gotten you thinking about diet and oral health, make sure to bring your questions or concerns to your next appointment! We are happy to advise you more on the subject and we look forward to it!