Nutrient deficiencies are conditions caused by the lack of one or more nutrients in the diet or due to an inability of a person to absorb nutrients properly. Oral health can be affected by nutrient deficiencies.
Without vitamin D, your body cannot absorb or use calcium properly, leading to weakened bones and teeth. Studies have also found that people with low levels of vitamin D are also more likely to suffer from gum disease. Vitamin D can also be found in foods like eggs, mushrooms, fortified milk, and fish. Your body can also synthesize its own vitamin D from sunlight, but this option may not be viable for everyone due to work obligations or location. That’s why it is important to talk to your doctor about your individual risk factors for deficiencies and what steps you can take to get the proper amount of vitamin D.
While increasing your vitamin D intake can help support your dental health, so too can increasing your intake of calcium. Calcium helps form tooth enamel and supports your oral health by strengthening bones throughout the body. Most people should aim to consume between 1,000 – 1,500 milligrams of calcium each day from a variety of food sources. Dairy products like milk and yogurt are excellent ways to meet your daily calcium needs, but you can also eat leafy green vegetables like broccoli, kale, and spinach, as well as almonds, sardines, tofu, salmon, oranges, and more. Magnesium can also help with the absorption and use of calcium in your body. Some magnesium-rich foods include dark leafy greens, almonds, avocados, dark chocolate, bananas, lentils, white beans, and more. Eating a diet rich in nutrients and vitamins that promote general health will naturally also boost your dental health.
At your next appointment, ask your doctor what steps you should take to protect your dental health. They may recommend additional supplements in addition to your diet change. In some cases, they may recommend prescription-strength medications that you can regularly take to help protect your teeth and gums. For example, some patients with osteoporosis take bisphosphonates to prevent their bones from degrading over time.
There are a variety of B vitamins that benefit oral health, but vitamin B-12 is probably the most important one. This vitamin is needed for the normal functioning of the nervous system, red blood cell formation, DNA synthesis, and fatty acid production. If you are deficient in this vitamin, you may experience fatigue, weakness, impaired cognitive skills, numbness or tingling in the extremities, and depression. A lack of vitamin B-12 can also cause mouth sores, tongue inflammation, bad breath, and gum problems.
Some foods are rich in B complex vitamins, such as meat, eggs, lentils, beans, nuts, yogurt, spinach, fortified cereals, fish, milk, and cheese. If you still do not get enough of these vitamins from your diet, you can talk to your doctor about including supplements in your diet. These can include B-12 supplement pills, oral sprays, sublingual drops, or intramuscular injections.
Cavities are caused by tooth decay, which occurs when acids from plaque bacteria eat away at tooth enamel. While fluoride cannot replace brushing and flossing, it can help prevent cavities and even reverse minor damage. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that strengthens teeth’s protective outer layers, called enamel. This layer helps prevent decay-causing agents like bacteria and sugars from harming the sensitive inner layers of the teeth. It also reverses the damage that is already present on your teeth.
Visit Gulf Coast Dental at 1751 W 9 Mile Rd. Pensacola, FL 32534, or call (850) 944-5515 to learn more about oral health.