There’s much more to oral health than simply brushing and flossing. In fact, the food you eat plays a large role in getting a healthy mouth. Here are some of the most important vitamins and minerals that contribute to optimum oral health.
Known for its role in healthy vision, vitamin A is also essential for optimum oral health in children. It promotes the flow of saliva, which naturally rinses teeth of sugars and acids and also prevents dryness. It also maintains the quality of the mucous that protects kids’ gums and cheeks, reducing the risk of infection. Foods rich in vitamin A include sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, spinach, winter squash and fish.
Calcium’s role in maintaining strong bones and joints carries over to teeth. Found in dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt as well as tofu, sardines, spinach and sesame seeds, calcium is one of the most prominent minerals in the body and a vital contributor to healthy teeth in children.
A premier antioxidant, vitamin C promotes immune health and aids a variety of the body’s repair processes. In the context of oral health, it helps heal gums and reduce gum inflammation. The body synthesizes vitamin C to produce collagen, which speeds healing. Kids can enjoy vitamin C in fruits such as oranges, kiwis and strawberries, and in vegetables like broccoli, bell peppers and cauliflower.
Vitamin D is to calcium like Robin is to Batman. Without it, calcium’s healthy properties are limited. Vitamin D signals the intestines to absorb calcium, promoting healthy bones and teeth in children. Denser teeth are more resistant to fractures, reducing unexpected trips to the dentist. Sun exposure for as little as 15 minutes a day provides kids with all the vitamin D they need. Dietary sources of vitamin D include eggs, fortified milk and cereals, and seafood such as fish and shrimp.
In addition to promoting healthy blood flow, magnesium also helps the body absorb calcium, which kids need to develop strong teeth and healthy enamel. Magnesium is abundant in nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, spinach and other leafy greens.
Iron is one of the primary building blocks of red blood cells, which are vital for a variety of bodily functions, including tooth development in children. Iron deficiency can hamper oral health, so make sure your kids are getting enough of this vital nutrient. Iron can be found in legumes, sesame seeds, spinach and red meats.
A core component in toothpaste, fluoride promotes healthy enamel, which is a tooth’s natural defense against bacteria and cavities. Consult your child’s dentist about fluoride products and supplements. Many cities and bottled-water companies also use fluoride to treat drinking water.
Found naturally in healthy saliva, zinc is a key defender against cavity-causing bacteria and plaque. Zinc deficiency can give rise to tooth and gum decay, gum disease and cavities. Foods rich in zinc include red meat, pumpkin and sesame seeds, oysters, cashews, squash, legumes and mushrooms.
Proper nutrition can go a long way in maintaining healthy teeth in children. Team up with your child in adopting a balanced diet to enjoy healthy teeth and gums and fewer visits to the dentist.
Woodlands Pediatric Dentistry has a team of caring dentists and staff who serve the dental health needs of every patient. Our continuing child dental healthcare services range from checkups, cleanings and sealants to limited orthodontic treatments in a kid-friendly office for maximum comfort. For quality kids’ dental health services delivered with care, contact us at 281-292-4242.