It’s no secret that dental health and our diets are inextricably linked. After all, our dentists have been telling us for years to cut out sugary or acidic foods in place of more tooth-friendly alternatives! Unfortunately, even if you spend your life limiting your intake of sweets, you may still fall prey to tooth decay and gum disease – and a vitamin deficiency could be the cause. The question is, with everyone so focused on the sugar side of things, which vitamin deficiencies are causing damage, and what can you do about it?
Definitely not getting enough vitamin D.
As many as 1 billion individuals worldwide don’t get enough vitamin D. As well as increasing the risk of infections like gum disease, this deficiency has been linked to conditions including osteoporosis, which can lead to loose or broken teeth. Studies have also revealed that daily vitamin D supplements can reduce the risks of cavities in children by up to 47%.
With this in mind, even individuals with good dental health could benefit from boosting their vitamin D levels. A great place to start is spending more time outside for improved sun exposure, as well as cooking plenty of meals that include foods high in vitamin D, such as red meats, oily fish, and even fortified cereals.
Could calcium deficiency be to blame?
Furthermore, vitamin D deficiencies can also impact the body’s ability to absorb calcium. As many as 3.5 billion people are at risk of calcium deficiencies, or ‘hypocalcemia.’ This is a problem for teeth for a few different reasons, not least of which because calcium is essential for strong, healthy bones.
Like vitamin D, a lack of calcium can especially facilitate issues like osteoporosis. The brittle bones inherent with this condition can lead to the breaking of multiple teeth that require either affordable dentures or implants to prevent infection, eliminate pain, and generally improve appearances. Individuals concerned about their vitamin C consumption can incorporate more of this nutrient in their diet through rich leafy greens, citrus fruit, and dairy products.
B12 is breaking dental health.
Particularly as vegan diets become more popular, vitamin B12 deficiencies are causing significant health setbacks and taking their toll on dental health to boot. Most specifically, studies reveal that a lack of vitamin B12 can increase the risks of severe periodontitis. While experts still aren’t clear on why this happens, the link between low levels of B12 and escalating gum disease are certainly strong enough to suggest that improvements here are imperative.
Only naturally present in foods of animal origin (e.g. meats, dairy), many plant-based foods do now include B12 supplementation, such as marmite, nutritional yeast, and many breakfast cereals. In reality, however, individuals who avoid or eat minimal amounts of meat and dairy should invest in readily available B12 supplements to avoid escalating dental issues of this nature.