Foods rich in vitamins A, D, C, K, fiber, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and iron are good for healthy teeth. These compounds are crucial for tooth remineralization and the prevention of tooth decay!
Can food prevent tooth decay?
Diet is vital for keeping your teeth healthy. Teeth rebuild themselves every day. But, tooth remineralization needs minerals. Food should provide these minerals in adequate amounts.
The external layer of the tooth, called enamel, is particularly vulnerable to the demineralization process. It’s the part of the tooth that it’s exposed to food, saliva, and acids of bacteria.
Sugar damages your teeth. Any form of sugar is bad for your teeth. “Bad” bacteria in the mouth metabolizes sugar, producing acids. These acids cause tooth demineralization. So, we should eat certain foods to replenish lost minerals.
Once tooth enamel is damaged, it cannot be restored. Only weakened enamel can be restored naturally. Enamel can repair itself by using minerals from saliva.
Brushing, flossing, the use of mouthwash, and proper diet may delay the demineralization process!
Important vitamins & minerals for the tooth
Our teeth are made up mostly out of calcium. Thus, consuming foods high in calcium is essential for healthy teeth and for preventing tooth cavities.
Vitamin D is good for healthy teeth as well. First, vitamin D helps the human body to absorb calcium. Furthermore, vitamin D protects from tooth decay. It has beneficial effects on bone remineralization. Also, vitamin D has powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.[3,4]
Vitamin C is also important for healthy teeth and gums. Vitamin C prevents gums from bleeding and promotes wound healing. It supports calcium absorption as well. It’s better to avoid chewable vitamin C tablets. They may lead to erosion of dental enamel, due to their high acidity (pH of 2.8). Actually, there are many foods high in vitamin C.
Furthermore, vitamin C is vital for the synthesis of collagen. Collagen keeps teeth in the gums. Moreover, collagen is the major protein found in the dentin, the part of the tooth that is beneath enamel. Collagen is about 90% of the organic compounds of dentin.
Although the enamel is made mostly of calcium, phosphorus and fluoride are also necessary for the remineralization process of the tooth. Seeds are the best plant-based dietary sources of phosphorus. In fact, chewing seeds and nuts is good for your teeth, as it increases salivary flow. Saliva cleans away any remaining sugar from your teeth.
Also, tooth enamel contains keratin, which needs vitamin A for its formation. Furthermore, vitamin A plays an important role in growth, immunity, and wound healing in the oral cavity.[7,8]
Teeth are constantly renewed. Vitamin K plays a key role in this process. Vitamin K is crucial for tooth metabolism, as it activates proteins, which are responsible for calcium and phosphorous deposition in the tooth. On the contrary, vitamin K deficiency may cause bleeding gums.
Another vital mineral for healthy teeth and gums is magnesium. Magnesium is present in the enamel and promotes calcium absorption. However, high calcium intake may inhibit magnesium absorption. Therefore, consuming too many foods high in calcium, such as dairy, may be bad for your teeth.[9,10]
Vitamin D promotes magnesium absorption as well. Also, magnesium is important for strong bones. It may help prevent osteoporosis. Seeds, nuts are the best dietary sources of magnesium.
Zinc is naturally present in the saliva and in tooth enamel. Zinc seems to have many oral health benefits. It’s found in oral health products to control plaque, reduce oral malodour and inhibit dental calculus formation. Zinc is naturally present in many plant-based foods, meat, dairy, and fish.
Another key mineral for dental health is iron. Iron may protect against dental caries. Iron deficiency may cause tooth decay.[12,13]
Foods high in fiber are good for healthy teeth and gums
In addition, foods high in dietary fiber are good for your teeth and gums, as they demand a lot of chewing. Chewing generates saliva, which is beneficial for dental health. Among others, saliva:
- rinses your teeth from food remains
- neutralizes acids
- transfers minerals to the tooth. Calcium and phosphate, in particular.
Also, the chewing disrupts bacteria-filled plaque and cleanses the teeth and gums.
Only plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole cereals are good sources of dietary fiber.
Foods with omega-3s are good for your teeth
Moreover, omega-3s are beneficial against periodontitis, due to their powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Periodontitis is a chronic inflammatory disease. It is caused by the presence of bacteria at gums. In periodontitis, the gum tissue is separated from the tooth. It can lead to bone and tooth loss.