Giving up processed foods and artificial sugars is a great way to improve our overall health, but sometimes our “healthy” habits can actually deprive us of vital nutrients. Internal health is an important factor when it comes to oral hygiene, and cutting meat, dairy products or sugars out of your diet could lead to serious conditions such as gum disease if you don’t find the right substitutes. Keep reading for a list of nutrients you might be missing and some tips for balancing your diet with your oral health!
Zinc in saliva and enamel prevents the buildup of bacteria, which eventually turns to tartar or calculus. It is essential to preventing cavities and even gum disease (periodontitis). If you notice a metallic taste in your mouth, zinc deficiency may be to blame, as it causes a buildup of bacteria in the mouth.
- Zinc-rich foods: Seafood, lean meats, dairy products
- Alternatives: Chickpeas, cashews, almonds
Gum swelling or bleeding may be a sign of Vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C is necessary for collagen production, which is an essential part of the connective tissue in the gums surrounding the teeth.
- Vitamin C-rich foods: citrus fruits
- Alternatives: Bell peppers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes
A lack of calcium weakens the gums, and people who don’t eat animal and dairy products may be increasing their risk of periodontal disease. Calcium prevents bone degeneration, keeping the jaw strong and healthy so bacteria doesn’t destroy the bone that supports the teeth.
- Calcium-rich foods: dairy products
- Alternatives: chickpeas, broccoli, collard greens, oranges
Vitamin D works with calcium to promote strong bones. It increases calcium absorption, preventing tooth loss and jaw bone degeneration.
- Vitamin D-rich foods: Fatty fish, egg yolk
- Alternatives: mushrooms, tofu, dairy alternatives (i.e. soy milk)
If you notice a burning sensation in your mouth, specifically on your tongue, or frequent canker sores you may be suffering from iron deficiency. Iron deficiency leads to reduced red blood cells and decreased oxygen flow.
- Iron-rich foods: Red meat, poultry, seafood
- Alternatives: dried fruits, beans, dark leafy greens
Finding a solution to your symptoms may be as simple as picking up a few extra ingredients at your local supermarket! Adding some of these nutrient rich foods to your diet can help you get back on track with your oral health and wow us next time you visit our office!