The Connection Between Nutrition and Oral Health: Foods for a Healthy Smile

April 25, 2023

Maintaining a healthy smile goes beyond brushing and flossing; it also involves paying attention to your diet. What you eat can have a significant impact on your oral health. Proper nutrition provides essential vitamins and minerals that promote strong teeth, healthy gums, and overall oral well-being. In this blog post, we will explore the connection between nutrition and oral health and introduce you to some foods that can help you achieve a healthy smile.

Calcium Rich Foods

Calcium is crucial for building strong teeth and bones. Incorporate the following calcium-rich foods into your diet:

  • Dairy products: Milk, cheese, and yogurt are excellent sources of calcium. They also contain casein, a protein that helps protect tooth enamel.
  • Leafy green vegetables: Spinach, kale, and collard greens are not only rich in calcium but also contain folic acid, which promotes healthy gums.

Fat Soluble Vitamins

Vitamin D is absolutely fundamental to our health. Our digestive system needs it to absorb calcium from the food we eat - the calcium that our body uses to grow and strengthen our teeth and bones. Our bodies are designed to synthesize vitamin D from the sun, so it's ideal to get at least half an hour of sunshine in the middle of the day. This is the sunlight that contains UVB rays, which trigger our skin to convert a prohormone into Vitamin D. The best food sources of Vitamin D come from animal products;

  • Fatty Fish, liver, cheese and egg yolks
  • The form of D that comes from plants (D2) is harder for our bodies to process

Vitamin A is important for your body to grow and repair itself. Like vitamin D, vitamin A that comes from plants needs to be converted into its active form to be used in the human body. There are many things that help the body convert vitamin A, cooking vegetables and fruits in fat helps.

  • Cod Liver Oil is the best source of Vitamin A
  • Fruit and Vegetables that are Red, orange and yellow in colour

Ensure you read the daily recommendation for Vitamin A intake.

Vitamin K2 is crucial for your bones and teeth. K2 tells calcium where to deposit in your teeth and bones and keeps it out of your bloodstream.

  • MK-4 vitamin K2 - Grass feeds animals and dairy; organ meats, shellfish and emu oil
  • MK-7 vitamin K2 - Fermented foods; Natto, sauerkraut, Kombocha, Kefir and cheeses like Gouda and Bree

If you take warfarin, consult your doctor before increasing your K2 intake as it can interfere with this in the body.

Vitamin C-Rich Foods:

Vitamin C is essential for maintaining healthy gum tissue and preventing gum disease. Include the following vitamin C-rich foods in your meals:

  • Citrus fruits: Oranges, grapefruits, and lemons are high in vitamin C and help strengthen gums.
  • Berries: Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are packed with antioxidants and vitamin C, benefiting gum health.

Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables:

Crunchy fruits and vegetables help stimulate saliva production, which aids in neutralising acids and washing away food particles. They also act as natural teeth cleaners. Include the following in your diet:

  • Apples: Chewing apples helps scrub away plaque and freshen your breath.
  • Carrots and celery: These fibrous vegetables require more chewing, promoting saliva production and reducing the risk of cavities.

Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that can benefit gum health. Incorporate the following foods into your diet:

  • Fatty fish: Salmon, mackerel, and sardines are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Chia seeds and flaxseeds: These seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and can be added to smoothies, yogurt, or oatmeal.

Water and Green Tea:

Water is essential for maintaining saliva production and washing away food particles. Green tea contains antioxidants that can help reduce the risk of gum disease. Replace sugary drinks with water and enjoy a cup of green tea throughout the day.

Limit Sugary and Acidic Foods:

Frequent consumption of sugary and acidic foods can contribute to tooth decay and enamel erosion. Limit your intake of:

  • Soft drink and fruit juices: These beverages are high in sugar and acid, leading to tooth decay.
  • Lollies and sweets: Sticky lollies and sugary treats can get stuck in the crevices of your teeth, increasing the risk of cavities

A healthy smile starts with a well-balanced diet that supports your oral health. By incorporating fat soluble vitamin and calcium-rich foods, vitamin C-rich foods, crunchy fruits and vegetables, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and staying hydrated with water and green tea, you can promote strong teeth, healthy gums, and overall oral well-being. Remember to limit your intake of sugary and acidic foods to maintain a healthy smile. A nutritious diet, combined with regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups, will contribute to a lifetime of optimal oral health.