Nutrients for Dental Health

Protein

The development of tooth structure as well as mucosal and connective tissue has protein as its foundation. In other words you need healthy sources of protein to build and maintain the health of your teeth, gums and bone.

Food sources:   Organ meats, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese (should be low sodium), eggs, milk, whey, meat, fish, chicken, turkey, fish and sea food, peanut butter, protein powder, peas.

 

Minerals

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, and is used for the formation of teeth and bones, as well as for muscle contraction, blood clotting and nerve conduction.

Food sources:  Dairy products, small amounts of organic tofu, canned fish including bones.

Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body. Calcium and phosphorus intake must be balanced in order to build and maintain strong, healthy bones and teeth.

Food sources:   Wheat germ, soy beans, nuts, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, citrus fruit, cucumbers, tomatoes, grapes.

Zinc is a trace element that is vital for the formation of connective tissue, teeth, bone, nails, hair and skin. In the mouth it is found is saliva and enamel.

Food sources:   Oysters, red meat, poultry, beans and nuts.

Iron is utilized by the body in two forms: heme and nonheme. Heme iron is found in animal foods that originally contained hemoglobin. Your body absorbs the most iron from heme sources rather than the nonheme iron from plant sources.

Food sources:   Heme sources: red meats, fish, and poultry. Plant-based, non-heme: spinach, beans and lentils. Iron enriched and fortified foods.

 

Oils

Omega- 3 Oils Help the immune system in dealing with chronic inflammation and is therefore important for the prevention of gingivitis, an inflammatory response of the gums that is the first stage of periodontal disease.

Food sources:   While plant-based forms of omega-3 oils are available, the most helpful source of these oils is from seafood. Krill oil, from a type of plankton, is an excellent source and may be superior to seafood.

Vitamin D  Vitamin D is not actually a vitamin, it is a fat soluble hormone that is necessary for metabolizing calcium by regulating the ratio of calcium to phosphorus.  It has been called “Sunshine Vitamin D” because our bodies can produce it by exposure to the sun. In Southern California it is generally considered that we have enough sun exposure year round. For other areas there are calculators online that help you determine how much exposure you are getting according to location and time of year. However, the best way to tell if we have enough Vit D in our body is to do a blood test.

Sources: Sunshine, supplementation, dairy products, eggs, some cereals, oily fish (tuna, sardines etc).

 

Other Essential Vitamins

Vitamin A     The mucosal tissue, which includes the gums, cheeks and parts of the tongue, all require this fat soluble vitamin, as does the connective tissue. This includes the ligaments that attach the teeth to the jaw.

Food sources:   Sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, melons and butternut squash. Blue fin tuna.

Vitamin C      Necessary for collagen, which maintains the structure of mucosal and connective tissue.

Food sources:   Yellow bell peppers, guavas, kale, kiwis, broccoli, strawberries, oranges, peas.

B Vitamins   Turnover of a type of cells, called epithelial cells, lining the mouth.

Food sources:  The different B vitamins are distributed among various types of foods. Eating a balanced diet that consists of animal products, fruits, vegetables, eggs and fish will usually provide sufficient amounts.