What you eat has a huge impact on your oral health. It seems so obvious, doesn’t it? Pretty much everything we eat or drink touches our teeth in one way or another. We chew certain foods. We drink liquids, and they pass over our teeth. So, if everything we eat has an impact on our teeth, then why do so many of us not consider our teeth and our diets when we’re considering what to have for lunch? The fact is that diet plays a huge role in dental health, but not just because foods and beverages come into direct contact with our teeth. The nutrients found (or not found) in foods also play a vital role in the health of our teeth. Following are answers to common oral health questions about how various vitamins and minerals affect the health of your teeth.
Nutrients and their benefits to teeth
Following is a breakdown of how certain nutrients benefit teeth:
Everybody knows that calcium is one of the most valuable nutrients when it comes to the teeth. The reason for this is that calcium promotes healthy growth and maintenance of bone and tooth structure. Additionally, calcium is linked with healthy enamel.
Protein is one of the body’s rock stars, and it doesn’t stop with the body. Teeth and their surroundings structures need the proper amount of protein in order to maintain tooth structure and optimal immune function. Protein is also important for optimal development of connective tissue.
Phosphorous isn’t one of those nutrients you hear a lot about, but it’s just as vital to get the right amount for teeth as it is to get the right amount of calcium. Phosphorous is beneficial for tooth structure.
Everybody knows vitamin C is good for a number of functions in the body, but did you know that, when it comes to your teeth, vitamin C is extremely beneficial to maintaining proper function of immune function? It’s also important to get the right amount of vitamin C to keep mucosal/connective tissue healthy.
Vitamin A has long been linked to immune function, and that goes for teeth as well as other areas of the human body. It’s also important for mucosal tissue function. However, it’s also important to note that getting too much vitamin A can lead to problems with gum tissue.
Like calcium, vitamin D is beneficial to the remineralization of enamel. It’s also important for proper immune function and mucosal tissue health.
Iron is another important mineral for immune function and connective tissue.
Foods that are good for teeth
By now, you’ve likely heard or read about how sugary, packaged, and processed foods are bad for your teeth. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that sticky, sugary foods can do a number on healthy teeth. However, it’s not every day you hear about the foods that are good for your teeth. Following are some foods that are actually beneficial to teeth and their surrounding structures.
Raw, crunchy vegetables
Raw vegetables are loaded with nutrients that are vital to teeth and teeth structures. And, if you eat the crunchy kind, like like celery and carrots, you can’t find anything better for your teeth. Raw, crunchy vegetables are excellent for cleaning teeth. Combine that fact with their high nutritional value, and you’ve got a winning combo for teeth and their surrounding structures.
In recent studies, anthocyanins derived from some plant foods have been linked to healthy teeth. These can be found in many foods from the berry family, including blueberries, cranberries, and raspberries.
So, what role does your diet play in your dental health? Are the foods you eat and the beverages you drink having a negative impact on your oral health? Are they having a positive impact on your teeth? Your teeth might not be your first consideration when you’re thinking about what to eat for lunch, especially since nutrition has a direct link on vital organs. However, it’s a proven fact that the nutrients in foods have a direct association with the health of your teeth. If you have further oral health questions, or questions about dentistry, be sure to write a list of your questions and take them with you on your next dental checkup.