As a wellness dentist in Jacksonville, Florida Dr. Shields is all too familiar with how whole body wellness can affect oral wellness. She works hard to educate her patients on the impact of this systemic connection every day. The vitamins and nutrients we put into our bodies leave lasting impressions on our oral health. Understanding how vitamin deficiencies can be detrimental to the health of our oral tissues is the first step in creating wellness and harmony in the body. Below are a few vitamins can improve your both your oral and overall health.
How Do Vitamins Work?
To understand how vitamins can improve oral health we must first understand what vitamins are and how they work. Vitamins are organic compounds that are created by or present in the foods we eat. They enable our bodies to perform various tasks like fortifying the immune system, making new muscles and bone tissues, and extracting and utilizing the energy found in foods. We do not make many of the vitamins we need, so we must ingest them for our bodies to function properly. There are two types of vitamins: fat-soluble and water soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins include A, D, E, and K. They are found in oils, vegetables, and dairy products. Water-soluble vitamins, C and B, are found in the watery flesh of fruits and veggies. Vitamin C and B travel straight to the blood stream, whereas the fat-soluble ones must be broken down in the gut and are absorbed by the liver where they are then stored and saved until the body needs them.
Vitamin C is found in fruits and veggies, and most well-known for being present in citrus fruits. This vitamin helps the immune system fight infection as well as builds collagen. A tissue necessary in the building of bones, teeth, and soft tissues. Famously a condition called Scurvy develops when there is a vitamin C deficiency which causes the affected to become exhausted and in some cases lose their teeth. Because vitamin C enables the immune system to fight off infection and provides the building blocks of teeth, it is no wonder the vital role this vitamin plays in oral health. Fresh fruits and veggies are full of this tooth creating and saving vitamin, so make sure to drink that orange juice.
There are many types of B vitamins, they are often grouped together in clusters called B-Complex Vitamins. B’s are creators of coenzymes that work to extract energy from to food we eat. They are also the vitamins that allow our bodies to use the extracted energy. They can make us feel alert and keep our internal functions rolling. B vitamins are important for oral health because the body needs energy from food to replenish itself every day. By eating foods rich in B vitamins, like soy products and fish, you can keep your body happy and functioning properly.
Vitamin D is one of the most-well known vitamins in terms of bone and tooth health. This is because vitamin D collects the calcium and phosphorus needed to repair and grow bone tissue. By managing the calcium and phosphorous in your blood it can help to prevent cavities and keep your teeth strong. Vitamin D is unique in that it can be synthesised by the human body. When we are exposed to sunlight our bodies make a fair amount of this vitamin. However, if you are deficient in vitamin D, supplements or ingesting foods fortified with vitamin D like milk and cheese, can be vastly beneficial.
Vitamin A is extremely important for our oral health because it aids in the creation of white blood cells that are used to fight inflammation and infections. Without vitamin A our bodies would have a difficult time fending off periodontal disease. This vitamin can be found in abundance in vegetables like kale, sweet potatoes, and carrots.
Eating a healthy diet rich in vitamins is good for both your body as a whole and your mouth. Both fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins are essential to pristine oral health. Choosing fresh fruits and vegetables along with healthy fats like olive oil, avocados, and nuts can be a delicious first step in achieving oral wellness.