Vitamins & Minerals for Your Mouth

Medically Reviewed by a
Licensed DDS

Table of Contents

  1. Vitamins and Oral Hygiene
  2. Vitamin Supplements
  3. Threatening Foods
  4. Eating Healthy
  5. References

You are what you eat. And the foods you consume can help or harm the health of your teeth.

Vitamins A, C, D, and K, as well as calcium and phosphorous, are essential for good oral health. It is important to make smart decisions about what you consume in order to promote overall mouth health.

Vitamins for Strong Teeth & Healthy Gums

Strong tooth enamel is essential for the strength of your teeth and overall mouth health. Enamel protects your teeth against erosion and decay.

If your goal is to strengthen your tooth enamel or fight against gum disease, increase the amount of the following vitamins and minerals in your diet:

Calcium
Found in dairy products, leafy greens, beans, and almonds, among other foods, calcium is one of the most important minerals needed to strengthen tooth enamel.
Vitamin D

Playing multiple roles in oral health, vitamin D increases mineral density. It also helps with the absorption, transportation, and placement of calcium to the bones that support your teeth.

Vitamin D comes naturally from the sun. It can also be found in foods that are fortified with vitamin D, such as cereals and dairy products.

Vitamin C

This vitamin is essential for the growth, repair, and maintenance of your teeth. It is also imperative for the synthesis of collagen in dentin, which is the layer of material in your teeth directly under the enamel.

Though we most commonly associate it with citrus fruits, vitamin C is found in many fruits and vegetables.

Phosphorous
Naturally protecting against tooth decay, phosphorous helps to rebuild tooth enamel. Sources of phosphorous include meat, poultry, fish, and eggs.
Vitamin A
This vitamin is used by keratin to form tooth enamel. Including foods in your diet that are rich in vitamin A — such as sweet potatoes, carrots, and cantaloupe — can help to strengthen your tooth enamel.
Vitamin K
Not only does vitamin K promote bone growth and density, it also helps to strengthen your teeth. Vitamin K is a calcium-binder, which is important for forming strong tooth enamel. Broccoli and Brussels sprouts are two rich sources of vitamin K.

Do I Need a Vitamin Supplement?

Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes a variety of natural sources of vitamins and minerals is the best way to consume all of the nutrients you need for a healthy mouth. Talk to your dentist or doctor about your diet. They can help you determine if you are likely consuming enough of the right vitamins and minerals through your diet.

The National Institute of Health (NIH), explains that you should be able to get all of the vitamins and minerals you need through the food you eat. Some people, however, may need to take a vitamin supplement. Vitamins are essential for normal growth and development. Each one performs specific functions, so you want to be sure to get them all in your diet.

If you are worried that you are deficient in certain vitamins or minerals, speak with your health care provider before starting a supplement on your own. Taking too much of any specific vitamin or mineral can cause adverse health problems.

A diet full of vitamins and minerals can strengthen tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

What Can Hurt My Teeth?

Vitamins and minerals do a good job of protecting your teeth and making them stronger. But certain foods can harm your teeth. Sugary and acidic foods can break down the enamel on your teeth and lead to tooth decay. Make sure to regularly brush and floss your teeth after consuming these foods.

The American Dental Association (ADA) explains that what you put into your mouth can both help and harm your teeth. These foods can cause harm to your teeth:

Hard Candies
Their high sugar content, coupled with the risk of chipping a tooth on them, makes hard candies one of the top foods that are bad for your teeth.
Ice
Adding ice to your drink is not a problem, but people who like to chew ice run the risk of damaging their enamel or chipping a tooth.
Citrus Fruits
Frequent exposure to citrus fruits can erode tooth enamel, increase the risk of tooth decay, and irritate mouth sores. It’s a good idea to swish water around your mouth after eating citrus.
Coffee and Tea
Moderate amounts of coffee and tea are usually not a problem. When drank too frequently, however, coffee and tea can stain your teeth and lead to dry mouth. Additionally, any sugar added to your hot beverage is bad for your teeth.
Dried Fruits
Sticky, dried fruits easily stick to your teeth. They can lead to erosion and tooth decay if not rinsed out carefully.
Potato Chips
Potato chips are full of starch that easily gets stuck in your teeth. If not cleaned properly, that starch can lead to plaque buildup on your teeth.
Soda
Sugary sodas contain both sugar and acid that is hard on your teeth. Plaque bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugars and produce acids that erode tooth enamel. Likewise, the acidity of carbonated soft drinks can also hurt your enamel.
Alcohol
In moderation, alcohol should not be a problem for your teeth. It does cause dehydration and dry mouth, which result in lower saliva production in the mouth. Over time, reduced saliva flow can cause tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral infections.
Sport Drinks
Like soda, most sports drinks are high in sugar. Sugar that lingers in the mouth can lead to cavities and break down your tooth enamel.

You don’t have to cut these foods and beverages out altogether. If you enjoy any of the above items, you can do so in moderation and in combination with proper oral hygiene.

Problems arise when sugars, starches, and acids build up in your mouth. Just make sure to brush and floss after indulging in these things.

Eating for Oral Health

Whether you are trying to regain oral health or maintain a healthy mouth, the best approach is to focus on foods that support healthy teeth and gums. A varied and balanced diet will ensure that you are getting the vitamins and minerals you need to have strong teeth and a happy mouth.

References

6 Vitamins and Minerals that Help Strengthen Teeth. Pronamel.

Dentin. (June 2019). News-Medical.net.

Top 9 Foods That Damage Your Teeth. American Dental Association.

Vitamins. (September 2020). MedlinePlus: National Institute of Health.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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