It can be shocking how fast children grow. All that growth requires plenty of good nutrients, and that applies to teeth and gums as well. So what are the most important vitamins and minerals parents should make sure their kids are getting to build those healthy smiles?
You probably saw this one coming, but calcium is the number one mineral required for building and maintaining strong, healthy teeth. It can be found in dairy products, but we particularly recommend getting it from cheese, because cheese also contains the protein casein, which is important for tooth enamel.
Magnesium is a mineral that plays a crucial role in teeth and bone health, because it helps the body absorb calcium. Good sources of magnesium include nuts, beans, seeds, whole grains, and dark, leafy vegetables.
Saliva is the first line of defense against gum disease and tooth decay, and vitamin A is what keeps the saliva flowing. Some of the best sources of vitamin A are beef liver, melon, sweet potatoes, and spinach.
Symptoms of a vitamin C deficiency include bleeding gums and loosened teeth. This is because vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps heal the gums and fight gum inflammation, which it does by stimulating collagen production. Citrus fruits are good sources of vitamin C, but they’re also acidic, so make sure your child rinses with a glass of water after eating that tasty orange.
Vitamins B2, B3, and B12
All these different B vitamins help reduce the risk of canker sores developing in the mouth. B3 in particular is essential for converting food into energy. Chicken and fish are good sources of vitamin B3, vitamin B12 can be found in pasta, bagels, spinach, and almonds, and vitamin B2 is in red meat, chicken, liver, fish, and dairy products.
Without vitamin D, other important vitamins and minerals, including calcium, wouldn’t do us much good. Vitamin D signals our intestines to absorb calcium into the bloodstream. Getting enough vitamin D means having bones and teeth that are far denser and stronger. Your child can get vitamin D from eggs, fish, and dairy products, as well as from spending some time outside (with sunscreen, of course!).
Iron helps deliver oxygen to our cells. An iron deficiency causes many problems, including a greater risk of infections, tongue inflammation, mouth sores, and buildup of oral bacteria. Two great sources of iron are liver and red meat.
Getting plenty of zinc is a great way to keep oral bacteria and plaque at bay, because it helps prevent it from building up along the gumline. Good sources of zinc include wheat, cereal, wild rice, cheese, and beef.
Making sure your child gets all the right vitamins and minerals is a fantastic way to encourage healthy teeth and gums, but it’s just as important to teach them good brushing and flossing habits and getting them used to regular dental appointments. If you have any questions about what you can do to keep your little one’s smile healthy, we’re happy to answer them!
Want to read more? Check out this article from Parents Magazine online.
We look forward to seeing those little smiles again soon!
Bright Inspired Dentistry
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.