January 16, 2019 3 min read

Vitamins Can Stop Decay In Its Tracks – The Link Between Vitamins and Cavities

 There are obvious links between vitamins and our health such as; vitamin C will help get rid of a cold, iron will increase red blood cells, B12 will help with energy production, and the list goes on. But vitamins that prevent tooth decay… this idea may be new to you? However, there is a strong link between specific vitamins and oral health. In this blog, we will discuss how 3 essential vitamins can ward off tooth decay.

 

The Journey To a Cavity

Cavity formation begins when the naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth attaches to the outer layer of the tooth and begins to digest sugars from food. Plaque is then formed by bacteria, which acts as a protective layer and supports further bacterial growth.

 

The minerals in the saliva then bond with the plaque to form tartar. The tartar then begins to dissolve the calcium in the tooth. Once the calcium rods that form the hard outer layer of the tooth erode (often referred to as demineralization), tiny crevices begin to open allowing bacteria to enter and cause decay.

 

 How To Stop Bad Bacteria In Its Tracks

So let’s rewind to the very beginning of the tooth decay process. It is what you  “feed” the bad bacteria that will either invite it to stick around or filtered it out before it can do any damage.

 

Eating specific vitamins along with reducing your consumption of sugary food and drink can stop tooth decay in its tracks; this process is called remineralization.

 

So let’s take a closer look at these 3 essential vitamins one by one, and learn how exactly they help and how you can add more into your diet.

 

Vitamin A Can Help More Than Just Your Eyesight

Vitamin A is known for aiding eyesight. However, it is also essential for promoting saliva production, which is a crucial step in clearing out food particles and bad bacteria in the hard to reach areas between your teeth and gums. In effect, this helps to maintain a healthy mouth environment that is less susceptible to disease (Read more about the beneficial effects of saliva here).

 

How to add more Vitamin A to your diet

Think orange fruit and vegetables and dark leafy greens. Try adding foods such as carrots, peppers, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, and collards. You can also find it in proteins such as fish and egg yolks.

 

Vitamin D Plays a Crucial Role In The Functioning of Your Overall Health

Often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” this nutrient is essential for many functions in the body (this is a story for another day). In the realm of oral health though, vitamin D is essential for calcium and phosphate to function adequately in the body, which are essential nutrients for the formation of tooth enamel, which protects the tooth from gum disease and tooth decay.

 

How to increase vitamin D intake

The obvious and best way is to have frequent exposure to full sunlight for at least 20 minutes each day. Also adding food such as milk, fish, eggs, cod liver oil will help increase your daily intake.    

 

Vitamin C Is Essential For Keeping Teeth Strong

Vitamin C deficiency increases the susceptibility of dentine damage (hard tissue that lies underneath the enamel surrounding and protecting the pulp). The cells that help to build dentine are directly influenced by ascorbic acid supply (aka vitamin C). Therefore low ascorbic acid levels mean a low amount of cells being produced that specifically protect and build dentin. Teeth then can become loose, gums can bleed, which then can lead to gum disease.

 

How to increase Vitamin C intake

Many fruits and vegetables are naturally high in vitamin C. Food such as oranges, lemons, kale, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and berries are particularly rich sources of vitamin C. Try lemon juice in warm water in the morning for a good morning wake up kick of this super vitamin - just make sure you brush your teeth soon afterward.

 

Incorporating fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamins A, D, and C will help add an extra layer of protection to your teeth to fight against decay. This along with a diet low in sugar and yes (because we can’t help ourselves), regular brushing and flossing will help to keep decay away.