Your oral health reflects what’s happening elsewhere in your body. Research shows that those with gum disease often have inflammation elsewhere as well. And according to the Centers for Disease Control, half of Americans over age 30 have periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease has been linked to cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Bacteria from cavities and periodontal disease can affect other systems in the body, so keeping up your oral health is one of the best preventive measures you can take for whole-body health.
Change Your Diet — Oral Health Will Follow
If you don’t eat healthy, your oral health will suffer — that’s a given. But even if you change your diet and focus on eating whole grains, fruits and vegetables, it might not be enough. If you aren’t getting the right amount of certain supplements, your dental health could suffer.
Vitamin D is vital to your body’s bones, and that includes your jaw and teeth. Vitamin D allows your body to absorb calcium, assists with cellular function and regulates immune system function.
Your body makes vitamin D after exposure to sunlight, but in the winter this may prove impossible. Even in the summer, UV rays are harmful, and extended exposure can increase your risk of skin cancer.
Add a vitamin D supplement to your diet, and eat more dairy and fatty fish to help your body maintain strong bones and teeth.
Adults should consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium every day. Women age 51 and over and men aged 71 and over should consume 1,200 mg per day. Calcium, like vitamin D, is essential to bone health, but it also performs many other functions. It helps blood to clot. It helps your muscles function and it helps keep your heart’s rhythm consistent.
Dairy products are a good source of calcium, but it’s also found in kale, almonds, oranges and calcium-fortified breads. If you aren’t consuming enough calcium, add a supplement to your diet to protect your oral health.
Adequate vitamin C intake is also critical for oral health. Vitamin C helps the body build and repair collagen, the tissue that supports gums and teeth. A lack of vitamin C can lead to sensitive, bleeding gums.
You can rectify this deficiency by consuming citrus fruits, red bell peppers, broccoli and other dark, leafy greens. Try to get most of your vitamin C from solid fruits and vegetables, as juices contain acid that can harm your teeth. Add a vitamin C supplement if your diet isn’t providing enough of this nutrient.
Talk to Oak Hills Dentistry about how you can prevent gum disease and protect your oral health by making changes in your diet and supplement intake.