Eating a variety of nutritious food is good for your overall health, including your oral health. Some vitamins in particular have demonstrated benefits to building healthy teeth and gums, namely calcium and vitamin C, so be sure to include foods rich in these nutrients in your diet.
Calcium for Teeth
Calcium has been shown to help build strong teeth, and vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that also plays an important role in collagen synthesis, by which it helps you develop and maintain healthy gums. Dairy products, including milk, yogurt and cheese are good sources of calcium. Also, try switching to low-sugar or sugar-free varieties of yogurt, since sugar (and bacteria) can promote tooth decay.
Vitamin C for Gums
Many fruits and vegetables including berries, oranges and cantaloupe, as well as green vegetables including broccoli and spinach are excellent sources of vitamin C. Of course, in addition to eating right, it’s important to follow a consistent dental care routine of twice-daily tooth brushing and daily flossing to promote oral health. And be sure to see your dental professional regularly and talk to them if you have questions about how your diet might affect your oral health.
If you suffer from bleeding gums and your dentist rules out poor dental hygiene, reassess your diet. Be sure to consume plenty of foods rich in vitamin C. They aren’t hard to find. Oranges, carrots, sweet potatoes, and red peppers are especially high in vitamin C. Try to get your vitamin C from actual fruits and vegetables, instead of fruit and vegetable juices. Besides being high in sugar, most fruit juices are quite acidic, and they can promote erosion of the tooth enamel. Fruit juices are fine in small amounts, but drink them with meals, or use a straw if possible to minimize the juice’s contact with your teeth.
Vitamin C is water-soluble, which means that the body doesn’t store it long-term and you need to consume it every day. Multivitamins or vitamin C supplements can help you get enough, especially if you are ill or following a restricted diet and you have problems eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. Many multivitamin formulas contain vitamin C, or you can find it as an individual supplement.
Recommended Vitamin C and Calcium Dosages
The Institute of Medicine recommends 90 milligrams per day for men older than 18 years and 75 milligrams per day for women older than 18 years. Many physicians recommend 1,200 to 1,500 milligrams of calcium daily for most adults, so you may want to consider a calcium supplement, especially if dairy products aren’t a regular part of your diet.