Taking care of your teeth helps prevent gum disease and tooth decay. According to the U.K. National Health Service website, NHS Choices, it is possible to prevent tooth decay by maintaining good oral hygiene and avoiding food and beverages high in fermented carbohydrates such as cakes, chocolate and sweetened tea and coffee. Certain minerals can also support tooth development and protect the teeth from decay.
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The teeth need calcium to develop and to protect them from tooth decay once they are fully grown. The Office of Dietary supplements notes that many people can usually get the recommended dietary allowance of calcium by eating a balanced diet containing dairy, fish, grains and leafy green vegetables. However, women, teenage girls and men over 60 years of age often don't get enough calcium from their diets. The Office of Dietary Supplements notes that up to 2,500 mg a day of calcium from foods and dietary supplements is safe for both children and adults.
Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body after calcium, and around 85 percent of it is stored in the teeth and bones. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that children who do not get enough phosphorus experience inadequate tooth development. A balanced diet usually supplies the recommenced dietary allowance of phosphorus. Foods that contain phosphorus include dairy products, nuts, fish and carbonated soft drinks.
According to the British Dental Foundation, fluoride helps build strong enamel, which makes the teeth more resistant to tooth decay. Fluoride occurs naturally in food and drinks such as fish, tea and drinking water. However, most people get enough fluoride from their toothpaste. Fluoride supplements may be taken by children over three years old, but only under the direction of doctor or dentist. A fluoride gel can also be applied to the teeth, which can help to prevent root decay.