The mouth can be a window into the health of the body. For example, when your body is lacking essential vitamins, this can lead to teeth and gum problems, such as bleeding gums. When someone has a disease such as diabetes, one of the symptoms can be lesions in the mouth. Additionally, oral problems can lead to other problems in the body. For example, research from Harvard links gum disease and heart disease:
People with gum disease have two to three times the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or other serious cardiovascular event.
Therefore, maintaining great oral health can lead to an overall healthier you! Let us take a look at how you can achieve this.
What You Can Do
Flossing is a must. It helps get rid of food particles below the gum line and in between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t get to.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day, for two minutes, with toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush. If you struggle with cavities, ask your hygienist or dentist help you improve your dental technique.
Rinse. Along with brushing and flossing, rinsing with mouthwash containing fluoride daily may help reduce the chance of dental decay and infection.
See your dentist every six months for regular cleaning and checkups. Prevention can save you a lot of money in costly dental procedures as well as save you the pain from tooth decay and gum disease.
Nutrition plays a vital role in your oral health. As mentioned above, vitamin and mineral deficiencies can cause problems with your teeth and gums.
This vitamin helps prevent dry mouth and helps your mouth heal quickly. Deficiency in vitamin A can cause impaired tooth formation. This shows up as pits, grooves, or missing areas of enamel. What to eat: Fish, egg yolks, liver, and green leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collard greens. It is also in orange-colored fruits and vegetables such as apricots, cantaloupe, pumpkin, carrots, and sweet potatoes.
Vitamin B helps prevent gum disease. Signs of deficiency include cracked lips or inflammation of the corners of the mouth. Lack of vitamin B2 and B3 can cause inflammation of the tongue. What to eat: Whole grains, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, nuts, seeds, citrus fruits, avocados, bananas, and dark green leafy vegetables.
Vitamin C strengthens your gums and the soft tissue in your mouth. It can protect against the early stage of gum disease. Signs of possible deficiency include bleeding gums and gum disease. What to eat: Citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, and potatoes.
Because Vitamin D plays a vital role in the strength of your bones and teeth, lack of it can result in increased tooth decay and gum disease. What to eat: Liver, red meat, fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel, canned tuna, Portobello mushrooms, and egg yolks.
Helps block substances that break down bone. It also helps your body produce a protein that supports bone strength. Vitamin K deficiency can slow down your body’s healing process and make you more likely to bleed. What to eat: Leafy greens, parsley, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts.
Helps harden your enamel and strengthen your jawbone. What to eat: dairy products, cheese, yogurt, broccoli, and salmon.
Like vitamin D, potassium improves bone mineral density. It also works with magnesium to prevent blood from becoming too acidic, which can leach calcium from your bones and teeth. What to eat: Bananas, lima beans, tomatoes, Swiss chard, potatoes, sweet potatoes, avocados, and prunes.
Phosphorus supports calcium in building strong bones and teeth. What to eat: Seafood, such as scallops, sardines, cod, shrimp, tuna and salmon, as well as soybeans, lentils, pumpkin seeds, beef, pork, and cheese.
Keeping your mouth healthy is very important to keeping your whole body healthy. Make your dental care a daily routine and keep your 6-month checkups and cleanings. Eat healthy to prevent vitamin deficiencies. And if you have children or teens, make it a family goal for everyone to keep their daily oral routines and to eat healthy meals. If you do this, you will be putting them on a path to long-term health!
We are here to help if you have any questions or need to schedule an appointment.
Nahid Afshari, D.D.S.