Diet and nutrition play an important role in the development and maintenance of healthy teeth. According to an article from the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, oral diseases such as dental cavities, erosion of the teeth and developmental defects can be prevented by having a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals. Although no significant research has proven that a healthy diet can prevent periodontal disease, there is a strong correlation between vitamin E and vitamin C as important antioxidants, which help buffer free radicals that damage the host cells and tissues associated with periodontal disease.
Vitamin E is a nutrient that is found in many foods; one important role vitamin E plays in the body is acting as an antioxidant. It helps protect cells from free radicals that can be very damaging to the body. People are exposed to free radicals in many ways. They are formed when our body converts food to energy, and they are also formed in the environment from the sun's ultraviolet light, air pollution and cigarette smoke, according to the Office Of Dietary Supplements.
Vitamin E is also important for boosting the immune system in order to help fight off viruses and bacteria. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, when food, bacteria and mucus develop on the teeth plaque is formed. If the plaque is not removed, it turns into tarter, and this buildup will inflame and irritate the gums; this condition is known as gingivitis.
When gingivitis goes untreated, periodontal disease occurs. The inflammation and infection from the gums spreads to the ligaments and bones supporting the teeth; the teeth will become loose from the lack of structure and support, and may eventually fall out. The University of Maryland notes the main cause of tooth loss in adults is a result of periodontal disease.
Vitamin E is found naturally in foods such as spinach and broccoli; almonds, peanuts and hazelnuts; and vegetable oils such as sunflower, corn oil, soybean oil and wheat germ. It is also fortified in some breakfast cereals, fruit juices and spreads; if fortified, reading the label should provide you with the amount per serving. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements the average intake of vitamin E for adults is 15 mg daily.
Other important vitamins related to healthy teeth include vitamin C and vitamin D; calcium is also a vital mineral needed to promote healthy teeth. Medline Plus, a service of the National Institutes of Health, recommends brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing regularly, having regular check-ups and teeth cleanings and having a diet low in sugar to help prevent oral diseases.
- Bulletin of the World Health Organization: The Role of Diet and Nutrition in the Etiology and Prevention of Oral Diseases
- Office Of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin E
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Gingivitis
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Periodontitis
- National Institutes of Health: Toothaches