Maintaining and Restoring Oral Health with NutritionMonday, September 10, 2012 by: Dr. Biasucci
Vitamins and minerals are important for our oral cavity. Nutritional deficiencies can manifest when there is an inadequate dietary intake of specific nutrients, which can affect our entire body including our oral health. Deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals can be evident in the oral cavity presenting as; sores, poor/slow wound healing, gingivitis, periodontal disease and fissures in the mouth/lips.
Below are a list of vitamins and minerals which are important for the health of oral cavity.
Vitamin A assists with maintenance of healthy oral mucous membranes, formation of tooth tissues and maintains proper saliva flow within the oral cavity. Present in meats, carrots, melon, squash, sweet potato and spinach.
B Vitamins (B1, B2, B6, B7,B9, B12) deficiencies can present as inflammation of the tongue and slow or poor healing or gum tissue. A deficiency in vitamin B12 in particular can cause angular cheilitis which can appear as deep cracks/fissures in the corners of the mouth that do not heal. Good sources of B vitamins are; sunflower seeds, meats, milk, egg yolks, fish, beans, mushrooms, bananas and brewer's yeast.
Vitamin C deficiency (usually rare in this day and age, otherwise known as Scurvy) can appear as inflammation, poor wound healing and insufficient collagen formation. Best sources are fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin D can help keep tooth enamel strong. Best sources are short exposure to sun without sunscreen (10minutes) and food sources such as fish, liver and egg yolk.
Vitamin E helps in healing and restoring damaged oral tissues. Best sources are vegetable seed oils.
Calcium helps reduce symptoms of gingivitis and assists with healing/restoration of damaged bone tissues. Prevents early loss of teeth due to osteoporosis. Best sources are milk, sardines,clams, turnips and broccoli.
Magnesium helps in jawbone and tooth formation, also prevents overgrowth of gum tissue. Best sources are nuts, legumes, cereal, grains, chocolate and spinach.
Phosphorus helps repair tooth tissues. Best sources are meat, fish, eggs, milk and chocolate.
Zinc helps improve the immune system and bones. Also helps prevent abnormal taste and smell. Best sources are wheat germ, oysters and beef liver.
Many of the essential vitamins and minerals we need can be obtained from a variety of food sources as listed above. It is important to eat a varied diet with a variety of fruits, vegetables and lean protein/fat choices daily. For some it can be hard to eat a large variety of food and in these circumstances a high quality multivitamin may be recommended to prevent nutritional deficiencies which can lead to problems systemically as well as locally in the oral cavity.
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