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Vitamins, Minerals and Your Body - The Better Way to Oral Health

It seems like only yesterday that sports entertainment megastar Hulk Hogan advised his fans to always..."Train, say your prayers, take your vitamins and you will never go wrong."

That was sage advice then as it is now. While the immortal Hulk Hogan's star may have faded a bit since his heyday, headlining one WrestleMania after another, you can still catch Hogan from time to time, on Monday Night Raw or WWE Smackdown.

He still looks great, so those vitamins must have something going for them.

Vitamins, whether they are A, C, D, E, or a multivitamin supplement, can make all the difference in the world when it comes to feeling full of energy and vitality. Taking vitamins, in the form of our favorite foods or as a daily supplement, has become a lifestyle for millions of Americans. And that's a very good thing!

But, let's not forget that maintaining a proper diet and eating the RIGHT FOODS is NATURE'S way of providing us with all the vitamins we need.

But, did you know that vitamins are essential to your oral health, as well?

Always keep in mind that your mouth is the gateway to your body. The state of one's oral health can significantly impact everything from your digestive system to your bones and immune system.

After all, your mouth, teeth and gums are the first contact points for the nutrients that you consume. So, it makes a lot of sense to keep a sharp eye on your vitamin and mineral intake.
With the Covid crisis making us all more mindful about taking care of ourselves, there has never been a better time to get up close and personal with the vitamins and foods that can make a real difference in our lives.

Let's kick things off with Phosphorus. What exactly is that you might be wondering.

There are few vitamins that can equal the positive role that Phosphorus plays in helping to maintain a mouthful of pearly whites. ( We hope that they are white as can be. And, if not, schedule a whitening with your dental professional asap!).

Yet, for all of its' benefits, Phosphorus is not nearly as celebrated as are most of the vitamins and minerals that you'll read about in this article.
It's high time, then, that you and this wonderful vitamin got better acquainted.

One of the ways that phosphorus strengthens teeth is by protecting and rebuilding your enamel. Research studies show that, in order for your body to get the most out of calcium, ( another vital vitamin we'll be talking more about later), it needs to be paired up with Phosphorus.

If you love dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt, you are in luck because they contain BOTH calcium and Phosphorus.

You could say that this rather unheralded vitamin is a secret weapon in the frontlines of the battle against tooth decay. And Phosphorus is key in helping to strengthen your jawbone.

Phosphorus is quite useful in maintaining and repairing the body's cells and tissues. It also influences how ones' body utilizes carbohydrates and fats. When you ingest Phosphorus, your body will certainly say "You're Welcome!"

Did you know that well over 80% of a typical persons' phosphorus content is concentrated in the teeth and bones? 

There is a veritable menu of foods that contain varying amounts of Phosphorus. You are sure to find something that you like on that list including beef and pork, whole grains such as Quinoa, a wide variety of nuts, pumpkin seeds as well as soybeans, kidney beans and lentils.

Remember, though, as beneficial as Phosphorus can be; if you are suffering from chronic kidney disease you MUST monitor your intake of foods that are high in this vitamin.

It is always wise to speak with a healthcare professional beforehand.

Calcium is, without a doubt, one of the most important minerals in the human body.

You probably learned in school how vital calcium is for better bone health. Your teacher certainly reminded you to drink the milk that was served with your school cafeteria lunch.
In addition to being a wonder mineral for your bones, Calcium helps to build stronger, more resilient teeth. It hardens the enamel and strengthens the jawbone.

No matter what age group we may fall into, we should all be aware of the dangers that come with calcium deficiency.

When not enough calcium is consumed in a persons' daily diet, the body tends to compensate by poaching or removing this mineral from ones' teeth and bones. Tooth decay looms down the road should the situation get out of hand.
Don't take a chance as tooth decay will lead to a host of problems that you don't need in your life. It's busy enough as it is!

Seniors should be especially wary of a calcium deficiency since weakened bones can very easily lead to fractures.

Yogurt, particularly the Greek variety, is all the rage right now. This food, which has been around since even before the time of Plato and Aristotle, contains a very nice amount of calcium. So, make sure that your fridge is stocked with plenty of Dannon, Fage, Yoplait, or whichever brand you prefer.

Leafy greens like kale, collards, mustard greens, bok choy and broccoli are rich in calcium. You will also find calcium in canned salmon, sardines, oysters, sunflower seeds
and almonds. If you enjoy Middle Eastern / Mediterranean cuisine, you'll be delighted to learn that Tahini has calcium in it.

Cooked veggies are, in many cases, better than their raw counterparts, when it comes to providing your body with antioxidants and minerals. Heating releases bound calcium that is in food, which results in more minerals for your body to absorb.

However, be very careful about boiling those leafy greens. Too much water and very high heat can result in some nutrient loss. Instead, place the broccoli crowns or cabbage in a minimal amount of water.
Better yet, steam, sauté' or stir-fry your veggies of choice, whenever possible.

With warmer temps on the horizon, it's time to start thinking about a picnic at Astoria Park or a day at the beach, soaking in the sun.

Even if your sunbathing is limited to the roof on your apartment building or the front stoop, try and get in some time with the sun. It's the best source of Vitamin D. Experts say that taking in the sun for only 15 to 30 minutes a day, a few times per week can do the trick.

Your body naturally makes Vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight. What could be simpler? But, please, remember to wear sunscreen and hydrate with plenty of water if you plan to be outdoors for a prolonged period of time. 

Vitamin D assists the body in absorbing calcium while also boosting bone mineral density. A lack of Vitamin D can lead to oral health issues that are the worst of the worst such as gingival inflammation, cavities and gum disease.

This sunny vitamin plays an important role in preserving the dentin in your teeth.

Dentin contains live cells that the body uses to protect a tooth's blood supply and nerves. Dentin is home to the "guardian cells', which are located right at the borderline of your tooth's enamel. By releasing immune factors, these super-cells can repair damaged dentin.
But ONLY if there's enough Vitamin D present in your system. When Vitamin D levels are too low, they no longer have enough power to restore infected teeth.

You'll be able to find a load of Vitamin D supplements on the shelves of your local pharmacy or health food store.

Vitamin D is present in fatty and oily fish such as canned tuna and mackerel. Who doesn't love a nice tuna salad sandwich, either Italian style with a bit of oil and vinegar or with a dollop of mayo and slices of juicy tomato?

Milk, orange juice and many popular breakfast kinds of cereal are fortified with Vitamin D. So, start your day off the right way.

Love mushrooms and their earthy, rich flavor? Then try sauteing a bunch of Portobellos and add them to your favorite pasta sauce. You'll get all the Vitamin D you need for that day.

A couple of other sources of Vitamin D are probably NOT even close to being a part of your daily diet.
If you fancy a touch of luxury for dinner and a Netflix or Amazon Prime evening at home, then go out and purchase an ounce or so of caviar. Yes, you heard that right. Caviar, the preferred treat of Royalty and the Jet-Set, does have some Vitamin D in it.

A spoonful of Cod liver oil will also deliver quite the Vitamin D punch. Try it this way... if you dare! Cod liver oil may be kind of nasty. but this amazing liquid does have quite a few health benefits.

Now, let's move on to Vitamin C.

The body cannot produce or store Vitamin C, so it is absolutely essential that
you consume foods that contain this vitamin, on a regular basis. And, of course, you can take Vitamin C supplements.

Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C does some really wonderful things for the human condition including helping to maintain the immune system, the formation of collagen and it also assists in the absorption of iron.

Paramount to one's overall health, a Vitamin C deficiency can lead to a host of problems such as anemia, bleeding gums and gingivitis.
This vitamin strengthens the gums and keeps the connective tissues in your mouth in top shape. These are the all-important soft tissues that hold your teeth in place.

Make sure to keep that Hollywood smile glowing by ingesting plenty of Vitamin C.

You don't want to end up looking like those poor sailors, back in the day, who suffered from scurvy, one of whose very unpleasant side effects was a loss of teeth.

Scurvy ravaged the crews of sailing ships throughout history, until, one day in 1753, a surgeon in the Royal British Navy, Dr. James Lind, started experimenting with lemons and limes to treat this insidious disease.
Well, shiver me timbers; the cure worked! Before too long, the powers that be in London decreed that all ships sailing under His Majesty's flag would have to carry an ample supply of citrus fruits.

There is an entire rainbow of foods that are packed with sufficient amounts of Vitamin C. Just choose what you like and get going!

The list includes sweet potatoes, oranges, as you might expect, kiwi fruit, cantaloupe, strawberries, snow peas, red bell peppers, kale, papaya and tomatoes. Thyme and parsley are rich in Vitamin C so don't be afraid to use them in any pasta or meat dish.

When we were children, many of us came to associate Vitamin A with the cartoon character Bugs Bunny and carrots. That bright, orange veggie, which Bugs used to chomp away on all the time, is an excellent source of this multi-faceted vitamin.

So very beneficial to a persons' vision and skin, Vitamin A also has antioxidant properties that are vital to our overall health.

Antioxidants are substances that can protect your cells against the harmful effects of free radicals. These are molecules that are produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to things like tobacco smoke and radiation.
Some studies show that, quite possibly, free radicals could play a role in the onset of heart disease and cancer. More research needs to be done on this subject, but it bears watching.

The next time you visit your dentist, ask about the fantastic stuff that Vitamin A does for your mouth. When it comes to preventing dry mouth, Vitamin A is the best weapon in your arsenal.
One of the main culprits behind gum disease, dry mouth can also lead to decay and plaque on your teeth.

Vitamin A helps to increase ones' saliva production. And, as your dentist will happily tell you; saliva breaks down food particles and washes away bacteria from between your teeth.
But don't just depend on your salivary glands to do all the work. Brush and floss at least a couple of times a day for optimal results.

Foods that are rich in beta-carotene should be an essential part of your diet. Your body converts beta-carotene into Vitamin A. How easy is that?

When you go to your local Whole Foods or other supermarkets, keep a sharp eye out for Vitamin A-rich foods such as avocado, squash, peaches, apricots, spinach, honeydew melon and broccoli. You'll also find this wonder vitamin in eggs, red meat and cheese.

This article is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to opening the window to the incredible potential that foods rich in vitamin content have in making a positive impact on your oral well-being.

We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your dentist, nutritionist, or primary care physician in creating a plan that's right for you with regard to

everyday consumption of vitamins, minerals and supplements. 

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