Just like your teeth, your gums rely on certain nutrients to maintain good health. Most of these vitamins can be obtained by the foods you eat, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. However, supplements can also be used to fill in nutritional gaps due to a limited diet or certain medical conditions that cause malabsorption.
Getting enough essential vitamins is not only important for good overall oral health, but it can also help suppress inflammation that can contribute to periodontal (gum) disease. As deficiencies in certain vitamins have been linked to periodontal disease, correcting these deficiencies is an integral part of treatment. Be on the lookout for the following vitamins in your food for optimal oral health, and overall health.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be found in countless foods, such as salmon, eggs, fortified breakfast cereals, most yellow and orange fruits and veggies, as well as other sources of beta-carotene like spinach and broccoli. This essential vitamin helps form and maintain the tissues in the mouth, including the soft tissues of the gums and mucus membranes. It is also needed to aid in the healing of inflamed gum tissue. Without sufficient vitamin A in your diet, you will become more susceptible to certain infections, including those that affect the teeth and gums.
Vitamin B plays a key role in keeping you energized and maintaining cell health. There are several different types of B vitamins, including vitamins B-12, B-6, B-1, B-2, B-3, and B9. Each is important for good oral health. Deficiencies in vitamin B have been associated with problems such as receding gums and sensitivity of the mucus membranes. If you are not able to get enough vitamin B from the foods you eat, consider vitamin B complex supplements. Always speak with your doctor before taking a new supplement, especially if you take medications or have other health concerns.
Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is an essential nutrient required by the body to form blood vessels, muscle, cartilage, and collagen. It is also an important component of the body’s natural healing process. In the mouth, vitamin C helps strengthen the gums and soft tissues. It can also help protect against gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease. Good sources of vitamin C include broccoli, tomatoes, green and red peppers, citrus, and greens.
Vitamin D can be acquired by both sunlight and food. There are certain groups of people who are at a higher risk for not getting enough vitamin D, such as adults over the age of 65 and those with darker skin tones. Insufficient vitamin D can contribute to inflammation and impact the oral microbes associated with gum disease. You can find vitamin D in a variety of foods, such as cheese, yogurt, cabbage, oranges, brown rice, and beans.
Vitamin E consists of eight fat-soluble compounds including four tocotrienols and four tocopherols. While it is relatively rare to have a vitamin E deficiency, it is important to include it in your diet to be safe. Vitamin E has been found to strengthen the gums which can lower the occurrence of bleeding gums and promote healthy gum tissue. As a powerful antioxidant, vitamin E is commonly used to relieve soreness of the gums and can be applied topically. You can find vitamin E in countless foods, such as peanut butter, vegetable oils, sunflower seeds, leafy veggies, tomato paste, and turnip greens.
Healthy Gums and Your Oral Health
The health of your gums is more important than you might realize. Healthy gums support your teeth and prevent the spread of bacteria throughout the body. They can also lower your risk of gum disease which has been linked with conditions like heart disease and memory problems.
If you are concerned about whether or not you are getting the proper vitamins for good gum health, speak with a qualified periodontist. At Vero Implants and Periodontics, we focus on preventing, diagnosing, and treating periodontal disease. Contact our Vero Beach office today to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment!