Are You Getting the Essential Vitamins and Minerals for Your Oral Health?

Maintaining a diet rich in vitamins and minerals is essential to leading a healthy life and maintaining a healthy body. Besides contributing to our overall health, some of the essential vitamins and minerals contribute to our oral health more than we would think. Seniors are among one of two age groups that should closely monitor their vitamin intake to ensure they are getting the correct amounts.

VitaminsCalcium always tops the list of essential minerals for oral health. Your tooth enamel contains calcium, which can be depleted by poor dental care or a lack of calcium in your diet. While a supplement works wonderfully if you aren’t allotting enough calcium in your diet (seniors need roughly 1,200 mg per day), the best way to get calcium is through the foods you eat.

Cheese, yogurt, soybeans, whole grains and green leafy vegetables are just a few of the foods that are rich in calcium. Lacking the proper amounts of calcium in your diet can lead to gum disease and tooth decay, as well as issues outside of the mouth like osteoporosis.

Vitamin D works together with calcium and helps your body absorb the essential mineral. Vitamin D also helps preserve your teeth and bones to uphold their strength. Seniors should be ingesting 20 mcg (or 800 IU) daily, which also will help decrease your risk of developing certain cancers, heart ailments and diabetes. Milk, eggs, liver, salmon and margarine are great sources of food that can provide your body with vitamin D.

Vitamin C consumption correlates with gum and tissue health. Seniors tend to have more fragile gums than those in other age groups so it’s important they get the recommended daily amount of either 75 mg for females or 90 mg for males. Seniors who are smokers, while strongly encouraged to stop smoking, should up their daily intake by 35 mg. The vitamin C strengthens gum tissue so that instances of bleeding are lessened, which can happen more than often with smokers and also those who have developed periodontal disease.

Iron deficiencies can be detected by a burning sensation on your gums and tongue along with swelling of the soft tissue in your mouth. Irritating and at times painful, this can be avoided by making sure you get the required 8 mg per day for seniors. Lentils, oatmeal, raisins, spinach and a single slice of bread are enough to do the trick.

The B Vitamins help with a number of issues that your mouth can face, including bad breath (or halitosis) and canker sores. B-complexes take the guess work out of determining the number of different B vitamins your body needs and how much of each. Vitamin B-12 is only one of the essential B vitamins and seniors should make sure to sneak 2.4 mcg into their diets.

While most of your B vitamins will come from beef, poultry, eggs and dairy products, those who follow a vegan diet can find vitamin B in nutritional yeasts. Like I mentioned before it might be best to take a B-complex, but this is a MUST for vegans.

Matthew King is a guest contributor from