What we eat has a direct impact on our health. Our food provides our bodies with the necessary nutrients to function correctly. When we eat a balanced diet, we get the right mix of nutrients that help to keep us healthy. However, eating too much or too little of certain nutrients can lead to health problems. For example, if we overeat fat, it can lead to weight gain and obesity. On the other hand, if we don’t get enough vitamins and minerals, it can lead to deficiency diseases like scurvy or rickets. Therefore, it’s vital to ensure that we eat a healthy diet to maintain our health.
However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only one out of 10 adults had met the recommended intake of fruit and vegetables in 2019. This means that most adults are not getting the recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals. This is a problem because vitamins and minerals are essential for our health. They help to boost our immune system, improve our mood, and keep our bones and teeth healthy.
This article will focus on how different vitamins and minerals can affect your teeth and which foods can help up your nutrient intake.
What Are Vitamins and Minerals and What Do They Do for the Body
Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients the human body requires to function correctly. Vitamins are organic compounds that are necessary for a variety of biochemical reactions, while minerals are inorganic elements that are needed for various structural and physiological roles. Vitamins and minerals play a vital role in maintaining health and preventing disease.
There are 13 essential vitamins that the body needs:
- Vitamin A
- B vitamins (riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, biotin, pantothenic acid, folate, and vitamin B12).
These vitamins are found in many foods, including fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, and fortified foods. The body needs vitamins to support a variety of functions, including vision, immunity, reproduction, and cell growth and development.
There are also 14 essential minerals that the body needs: calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, sodium chloride (salt), magnesium, iron, copper, zinc, manganese, selenium, iodine, chromium, and molybdenum. These minerals are found in many foods, including meats, poultry, fish, shellfish, milk, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fruits and vegetables. Like vitamins, minerals support various bodily functions, including bone health, metabolism, fluid balance, and nerve function.
How Do Vitamins and Minerals Affect Oral Health
Oral health is essential for more reasons than just having a great smile. What you may not know is that the state of your mouth can give clues about your overall health. For example, gum disease has been linked to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. So, how do vitamins and minerals affect oral health?
Vitamins and minerals are essential for keeping your teeth and gums healthy. For example, vitamin C helps to strengthen your gums, while vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, which is necessary for strong teeth. In addition, phosphorus and fluoride help to prevent cavities by hardening tooth enamel. While you can get these nutrients from foods like leafy greens, dairy products, and salmon, you may also need to take supplements if you’re not getting enough through diet alone.
What Conditions May Arise if Oral Health Declines
Your oral health is vital for more than just aesthetic reasons. Taking care of your teeth and gums can help prevent a host of problems, both with your mouth and overall health. Here are some examples and how to prevent or treat them:
Poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease, which can, in turn, cause inflammation and infection. This inflammation has been linked to an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, and other severe conditions. Also, missing teeth can make it difficult to eat properly, leading to malnutrition.
Thankfully, tooth implants can help to address these problems. Dental implants are a permanent solution for missing teeth and can help restore both their function and your smile.
Cavities are caused by tooth decay, which results from bacteria breaking down sugars in your mouth. This can lead to holes in your teeth, and if left untreated, cavities can cause pain, infection, and even tooth loss.
To prevent cavities, brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss daily, and eat a balanced diet. If you do get a cavity, your dentist can treat it with a filling.
Tooth sensitivity is a common problem that can be caused by several things, including gum disease, tooth decay, worn tooth enamel, and cracked teeth. Sensitive teeth can make eating and drinking hot, cold, or sweet foods painful.
If you have sensitive teeth, your dentist may recommend using toothpaste for sensitive teeth or bonding.
Bad breath, also called halitosis, can be caused by many things, including poor oral hygiene, gum disease, cavities, and dry mouth. In some cases, bad breath may also signify a more serious condition like diabetes or kidney disease.
To prevent bad breath, practice good oral hygiene and use mouthwash. If you have chronic bad breath, your dentist can help to identify the cause and recommend treatment.
Dry mouth, also called xerostomia, is a condition that can be caused by certain medications, infections, and autoimmune disorders. A dry mouth can increase the risk of cavities and gum disease.
To prevent dry mouth, drink plenty of water and avoid tobacco products. Your dentist may recommend a saliva substitute or artificial saliva if you have chronic dry mouth.
Oral cancer is a serious condition that can be caused by tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, and exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Oral cancer can lead to pain, difficulty swallowing, and even death.
To prevent oral cancer, regularly brush your teeth, floss, and visit your dentist. If you are a tobacco user or heavy drinker, consider quitting. And be sure to use sunscreen to protect yourself from UV damage.
There are many essential vitamins and minerals that our body needs, especially for our oral health. By being conscious of the food we eat, we can ensure that we get all the nutrients we need to keep our teeth healthy and strong. And by practicing good oral hygiene, we’ll have a good chance of preventing teeth damage.