The saying “you are what you eat” touches on an important health concept, though the words are a bit misleading. Eating a cheese sandwich will not literally turn you into one. Rather, the health of your entire body reflects what you eat, including your mouth. Some foods contain vitamins and minerals that can help decrease your risk of developing oral infections, gum disease, and periodontal disease.
If you experience gum bleeding, frequent oral yeast infections, or softening of dental tissue, you may need to add some vitamin D to your diet. Studies have shown that increased vitamin D intake can help prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease. Future studies are needed to confirm these findings. In the mean time, you can increase your vitamin D levels with egg yolk, fatty fish, and liver. If you suffer from high cholesterol, you might want to take vitamin D pills instead.
Vitamins A and K
Slowly healing dental work, excessive bleeding after dental work, and bleeding of the gums may all be caused by deficiencies in either vitamin A or K. Both vitamins help your body with forming blood clots and healing. Dental work that takes a long time to heal should be carefully monitored so that no infections develop. Leafy greens contain loads of vitamin K. Sweet potato, carrots, and cantaloupe are good sources for vitamin A.
People with lactose intolerance may need to watch their teeth for symptoms of calcium deficiency. Symptoms include softening of tooth surfaces, premature tooth loss, and bleeding of the gums. Lactose intolerance is a common enough condition that pharmacies often offer a variety of calcium supplements to choose from, ranging from chewable vitamins to swallowable capsules. You may also get your calcium from other non-dairy sources, including kale, almonds, and salmon.
A lack of zinc in your diet could increase your risk of gum disease. Not only that, but it will dry out your mouth, which can lead to weakened enamel. Many foods contain high levels of zinc, including tomato juice, Swiss cheese, spinach (also high in vitamin K), and ground beef. Drinking tomato juice every day to replenish the zinc in your system is not a great idea because tomato juice is highly acidic and will do more damage to your tooth enamel over time than mouth dryness.
Breakfast favorites like orange juice and grapefruit halves contain high levels of vitamin C. This vitamin can help prevent bleeding of the gums and gingivitis. Consume these acidic fruits in moderation to avoid enamel erosion. You can space out your citrus consumption with foods like yellow bell peppers, kale, broccoli, and papaya.
Although these symptoms can result from a lack of vitamins and minerals in your diet, it is important to have a dentist take a look just in case. Tooth and gum symptoms could indicate other conditions, or may be caused by bacteria or infections in your mouth. Early detection is essential for stopping the progression of gum disease and periodontal disease. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact your dentist for a check-up. Regular dental exams and cleanings every six months will also give your dentist a chance to check on the health of your mouth.
Your oral health is important and should not be left to chance. If you are looking to schedule a cleaning or oral exam, please call 845-627-7645 for an appointment at B & D Dental Excellence in West Nyack.