Beyond Calcium: 3 Nutrients You Need For Dental Health
When most people think of dental health, calcium is the first nutrient that comes to mind. While this mineral is certainly important for keeping your teeth strong and in good shape, it is not the only nutrient necessary for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. If you want to preserve your dental health, you should ensure you're getting enough of these three nutrients, too.
Vitamin D plays a role in helping the calcium make its way into your teeth, from your bloodstream. Without enough of this nutrient, your teeth may become cavity-prone. There is also evidence to suggest that a vitamin D deficiency may lead to periodontal disease, which is a severe gum condition in which the gums become inflamed and the teeth begin to loosen in their sockets.
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because your body makes its own vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Thus, spending a little time in the sun each day is the best way to get enough of this nutrient. If you live in a cloudy or cold climate, focus on eating vitamin D-rich foods, such as fortified cereal, fruit juice and milk.
Healthy gums lead to healthy teeth, and without enough vitamin C, you won't have healthy gums. An inadequate vitamin C intake can lead to bleeding gums that don't heal even with proper dental hygiene. Luckily, it is easy to get enough vitamin C in your diet if you focus on including fresh fruits and vegetables – this nutrient is found in almost all of them. Exceptionally good sources include oranges, carrots, sweet potatoes and red peppers.
Magnesium is a mineral that, like calcium, helps build strong tooth enamel. Without enough magnesium in your diet, your enamel will become increasingly soft, and you will have an increased risk of cavities and tooth decay. Many people do not get enough magnesium in their diets, so this nutrient is one you should be especially aware of.
Good sources of magnesium include whole grains, beans, nuts, and leafy green vegetables. Unfortunately, if these foods are grown in soil that has been depleted of minerals, they may not have as much magnesium in them as is ideal. Thus, it is wise to take a magnesium supplement or a multivitamin and mineral supplement that contains magnesium. Just make sure you discuss any supplements with your doctor before you begin using them.
By getting enough magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin D in your diet, you'll decrease your risk of dental problems – now, and as you age. Contact your dentist for more information.