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Do you want strong, healthy teeth to last a lifetime? No doubt, you are serious about brushing, flossing and using mouthwash, and you see your dentist for routine checkups every six months. Did you know that the teeth, and our oral health in general, is "powered" by the nutrients we provide our bodies with, starting from the time before they even erupt?
One reason our oral hygiene depends on our diet to such a great extent is the extremely high turnover rate of our oral soft tissues. The cells from these tissues divide fast and are replaced every few days, so nutritional deficiencies tend to show up a lot quicker in these structures than in other parts of the body.
One caveat you should keep in mind is that while there is no doubt that nutritional deficiencies play a huge role in the development and progression of dental diseases, they are only one cog in the system; a number of possible factors come in play together. There is no guarantee that a person with ideal nutrition and dietary habits will not get any oral diseases whatsoever, in other words, but making healthy eating a priority will absolutely be very good for your teeth.
Here are some of the most important nutrients that everyone should include in their diet if they want to prevent and combat dental disease.
Let's start with the most obvious and well known nutrient essential for dental health. Calcium makes up a large part of our teeth and bones. A deficiency in the intake of calcium can predispose people to developing enamel deficiencies, demineralization defects, gum diseases and dental caries (tooth decay). Dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt are recommended foods to meet your daily calcium requirements.
Iron plays an integral role in maintaining the normal functioning of the immune system as well as supplying oxygen throughout the body. A deficiency in iron shows up quickly in the color of the mucosal tissues of the mouth. People with an iron deficiency are more prone to developing mouth ulcers, redness of the tongue, swelling of the mucosal tissues and periodontal disease.
One of the most important ingredients for the maintenance of gum and tooth health is vitamin C. It plays a role in the collagen turnover that makes up such a large part of the gums and the bones. This collagen helps maintain structural integrity and a deficiency in this vitamin can cause defects to creep in. Loose teeth, bleeding gums, and swelling of the gums are some of the symptoms that can be seen due to a deficiency of vitamin C.
Without enough vitamin D, your body can't absorb calcium properly. There is no point in taking large amounts of calcium if there is not enough vitamin D present to help your body utilize it. Vitamin D is also thought to play a role in maintaining the proper functioning of the immune system and the remineralization of the teeth. Needless to say, both a strong immune system and the ability to remineralize your teeth are essential in the process of protecting your teeth and gums from diseases such as tooth decay, periodontal disease and mucosal diseases.