If you want to maintain or improve your dental health, it’s important to give your body the nutrients it requires. Our bodies are great at protecting and healing themselves in a variety of ways (to an extent), but without the right vitamins and minerals they can’t perform at peak efficiency. Remember that the most important aspect of dental health is–and will continue to be–regular cleaning through dentist visits, brushing, flossing and limiting acidic foods. However, ensuring you have everything your body needs can be just as important. 

What happens if I don’t get enough vitamins and minerals? One of the first things you have to understand about vitamins and minerals is that while they may not be the thing that boosts your health into overdrive, they are something the body desperately needs. While you will obviously receive wide-ranging benefits from using them, the effects on the body from missing out on them is far higher. Ranging from extreme fatigue, depression, your body’s inability to regulate inflammation, and more, ensuring you get the proper nutrition to avoid the negatives is just as important as gaining the positives. Be sure to stick to the recommended dosages, as some of them have limits that your body shouldn’t be pushed past.

Calcium: 99% of the calcium in our body is used in our teeth and our bones. If you don’t get enough in your diet, your body can pull it from your bones and teeth, weakening them considerably and leading to increased damage.  For most people, they will be able to gain enough calcium from a normal diet, as long as they aim to include foods that contain some calcium. Most dairy products, including milk, cheese and yogurt contain enough calcium, though dairy can be problematic for some. Greens, soybeans, almonds, and sardines make up some natural sources of calcium outside dairy. And for semi-processed food, fortified orange juice and fortified cereals are also very helpful. For those who have extreme deficiencies or allergies, calcium chews can be a great option. 

Vitamin D: Besides boosting the immune system, which can help your white blood cells fight off infections, Vitamin D also helps to boost the amount of calcium your body absorbs, and can also improve the health of your teeth. While a lot of people are deficient, one of the best ways to combat vitamin D deficiency (and thus calcium deficiency) is to make sure you get enough sun. In Texas, 15 minutes a day of sun will be more than enough to enjoy all the benefits (you might need slightly longer in the winter or late in the day). Early morning or late afternoon are widely considered to be the best times to get sun, due to the sun rays having to pass through more of the atmosphere and getting filtered more. If you are getting little to no sunlight, then supplements can be used, but sun and daily activity is the better route.

Vitamin A: Vitamin A is responsible for preventing some symptoms of dry mouth. A healthy dental ecosystem will require you to keep your saliva glands in proper working conditions, as dry mouth contributes not only to bad breath but to tooth decay. Some natural sources include dairy and fish, and eating enough broccoli.