Proper dental hygiene is very important for maintaining the health of teeth and gums, but it may not be the only step needed to prevent gum disease and tooth decay. Our diets often do not adequately provide the nutrients necessary for healthy teeth and gums. Incorporating plenty of fruits and vegetables, while avoiding refined carbohydrates, caffeine and excess sugar is beneficial. Vitamin supplementation can also help us maintain our gum health and prevent tooth decay.
To promote the healing of bleeding gums, vitamin C is essential, and is one of the most reliable forms of preventing gum inflammation. Bioflavonoids, which are the natural pigments in fruits and vegetables, taken with the vitamin also help prevent the formation of plaque around the teeth that can lead to stains and cavities. Since Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant in the body, it helps to promote the formation of connective tissue in the gums. Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, but they're also high in acid, which can erode tooth enamel. Instead, reach for strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli and potatoes.
Vitamin A is needed in the healing process of inflamed gum tissues. This vitamin is responsible for maintaining the mucous membranes and soft tissue of the gums. A deficiency can lower resistance to infections, as well. Beef, liver, milk, cheese and eggs are all good food sources of vitamin A. When taking supplements, take at meal time, as fat aids the absorption of vitamin A. Caution should be observed when pregnant women are taking Vitamin A; they should not consume more than 10,000 IU daily.
Adequate amounts of vitamin D can prevent inflammation of the gums. It is also beneficial to the absorption of calcium, which is necessary for both the development and maintenance of healthy teeth. The best source of vitamin D is sun exposure, but you can also get this nutrient in cheese, milk and fatty fish.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that can be taken in capsule form or opened and rubbed onto the gums for tissue healing. It has also been used to relieve soreness of the gums during infant teething. Foods that are high in vitamin E include sunflower seeds, turnip greens, tomato paste and peanut butter.
Vitamin B deficiencies can cause toothaches, receding gums and overall sensitivity of the mucous membranes in the mouth. Vitamin B complex supplements are best taken in the sublingual form--under the tongue--for optimal absorption. Food sources of the B vitamins include mushrooms, meat and fish.
- National Institutes of Health: Vitamin C
- Supplement Quality: Calcium and Vitamin C Nourish Healthy Teeth and Gums
- “Prescription for Nutritional Healing”; Phyllis A. Balch; 2000
- Journal of Periodontology: Effect of Vitamin D and Calcium on Periodontitis