Vitamins and minerals are essential for your body, which of course, includes your teeth and gums. Oral health disease may be prevented when vital nutrients are not deficient in your body. That being said, it’s not unusual to find consumers who misuse supplements, believing that just by taking a supplement or herb, they can cure tooth decay or even systemic disease. However, there are benefits to taking supplements for oral health.
Calcium—Setting the Foundation
Calcium supplements are important for prevention of osteoporosis, which has also been associated with tooth loss. Calcium is needed for healthy bones, teeth, and muscle contraction. It stands to reason that calcium would help not only osteoporosis but also preventing tooth loss through gum disease.
Pre and post-menopausal women are among those that are at high risk for osteoporosis and gum disease. Other situations that bring about gum disease and could lead to tooth loss include smoking or chewing tobacco, certain chronic illness such as diabetes, stress, poor oral hygiene, and heredity. Evidently, calcium is a good solution to help prevent gum disease, even if you were born with not the best dental genes.
You can get calcium from food or in supplement form. Calcium rich foods include milk, yogurt, and dark green vegetables. Women at risk of osteoporosis should take a minimum of 1200 mg of calcium per day.
What Type Of Calcium Should You Take?
There are several types of calcium that are sold in supplement form. The type you take is important since some dissolve and can be used by the body, while others require extra stomach acid for absorption, or may not be absorbed at all. The different types of calcium include citrate, carbonate, dolomite, coral, gluconate and lactate.
Calcium citrate is the best and easiest to absorb. You can take it anytime including on an empty stomach since it doesn't require high amounts of stomach acid to dissolve. However, you may need more of it to get enough “elemental calcium.”
Some prefer the natural form through dolomite. However, you should know that this type can be hazardous. A study published from University of Alberta found it is insoluble in stomach acid and is eliminated before it can be absorbed and used by the body. Also, dolomite may contain toxic elements including lead. Coral calcium should be avoided. Many health claims have been made about it, but not established as fact.
Antioxidants for Oral Health
Antioxidants have specific actions and act to help neutralize harmful free radicals. In 2005, researchers at Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry determined that antioxidants were able to minimize the harmful effects of free radicals released from smoking, alcohol and hydrogen peroxide.
Vitamins A, D, and E are the antioxidants that are available and most commonly taken in supplement form. Vitamin C is particularly important if you have bleeding gums. It helps with collagen building, which is a component of tissues. Ubiquinol or Coenzyme Q10 is another powerful antioxidant that has promise in preliminary studies towards heart health and healthy gums.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and A are found in fresh fruits and vegetables. Vitamin E is available in vegetable oils. Coenzyme Q10 is made in our bodies, however, supplementation has been found to be important for especially heart health.
An Ounce a Day…
To prevent tooth loss, brush with toothpaste that contains xylitol and baking soda to help neutralize acids in the mouth and take calcium supplements, preferably the citrate form. Eat a balanced diet rich in calcium and you’ll keep smiling with happy teeth. If you are not able to eat nutritiously rich food, then consider supplements.