How Do Different Vitamins and Micronutrients Affect Our Oral and Overall Health? – PART 1

The first sign of deficiency of some micronutrients are seen first in the mouth as glossitis, cheilitis and gingivitis.

Zinc:

  • Helps in tissue repair. It is a metal and is called an essential trace element as a very  small amount is needed for human health.
  • Deficiency can slow down wound healing.
  • Needed for immune function, wound healing and blood clotting.
  • Found in meats, seafood, dairy products, nuts, legumes and whole 
greens.
  • Zinc citrate is used in toothpaste and mouthwash to prevent dental plaque formation and gingivitis.

Variety of vitamin pills laying out on a table.

Vitamin A:

  • Known as retinol because it produces the pigments in the retina of the eye.
  • Helps maintain healthy teeth, skeletal and soft tissue, mucous membranes and skin.
  • Found in cod liver oil, carrots, liver, sweet potato, broccoli and leafy vegetables.
  • Strengthens the outer skin on the gums (gingiva) and makes it more resistant to infection.

Calcium:

  • 99% of our calcium is used to keep bones and teeth strong thereby supporting skeletal structure and function. The rest of the calcium found in our body plays a key role in cell signalling, blood clotting, muscle contraction and nerve function.
  • If the body doesn’t get enough calcium, it takes it from your BONES. Losing bone mass makes bones weak/porous and puts one at risk of osteoporosis.
  • Deficiency in calcium and vitamin D result in loss of bone density and more increased inflammation.

Vitamin B:

  • Thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, biotin, folic acid and B12
  • Needed for cell growth and healthy blood which contributes to healthy gum tissue.
  • Involved in wound healing and decreased intake may delay repair of gums (gingiva).
  • Used in sugar metabolism and a higher sugar diet may deplete B12 while 
simultaneously increasing periodontal risk.
  • Supplementation with B vitamins may accelerate post surgical healing.

Sources for Vitamin B:

B1: liver, oats, pork, potatoes, eggs
B2: bananas, dairy, green beans
B3: eggs, fish, meat, mushrooms, nuts
B5: avocados, meat, broccoli
B6: meat, vegetables, nuts, bananas
B7: raw eggs, liver, leafy vegetables, peanuts
B9: cereals, leafy vegetables
B12: animal products.

Spoonful of vitamin pills with a background of different colourful vegetables.

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid):

  • Helps repair and regenerate connective tissue, protects against heart disease, aids in the absorption of iron, prevents scurvy, and decreases total/LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • Will also help maintain a healthy immune system
  • Signs of a deficiency include fatigue, muscle weakness, joint and muscle aches, bleeding gums, and leg rashes.
  • In the mouth, a deficiency can increase ones risk of periodontal disease. A severe case can play a role in ones spongy, bleeding gums with tooth mobility and bone loss.

The recommended daily allowance for adults over 19 are as follows:

  • Men, 90 mg per day
  • Women, 75 mg per day
  • Pregnant women, 85 mg per day
  • Breastfeeding women, 120 mg per day

Sources For Vitamin C:

Apples, asparagus, berries, broccoli, cabbage, melon (cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon), cauliflower, citrus fruits (lemons, limes, oranges), kiwi, fortified foods (breads, grains, cereal), dark leafy greens (kale, spinach), peppers (especially red bell peppers, which have among the highest per-serving vitamin C content), potatoes, and tomatoes.

Magnesium:

  • Plays a significant role in over 300 enzymatic reactions within the body including the metabolism of food, nerve muscle and heart function, protein synthesis, blood sugar balance, blood pressure regulation, energy production, bone development, DNA and RNA synthesis and calcium/potassium transport.
  • Conditions associated with a deficiency include diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and osteoporosis.
  • It does offer weight loss support. Specifically, magnesium citrate helps you lose water weight and stool weight. Magnesium also helps your overall energy production by lowering your insulin resistance and improving blood sugar levels – both of which are beneficial components needed to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Improves sleep by stimulating melatonin production and activating ones parasympathetic nervous system.
  • Improves mood and lowers ones risk of depression.
  • Aids with PMS, migraine headaches, heart health, calcium absorption, 
relieving anxiety, etc…
  • Is well known for it’s anti-inflammatory effects on the body!! As we all know periodontal disease and so many other conditions in the body are caused by or exacerbated by inflammation. One way we can reduce inflammation is by making sure we are getting enough magnesium in our diet.

RDA Recommendations for daily intake:

  •       From 1 to 3 years of age: 80 mg a day
  •       From 4 to 8 years: 130 mg a day
  •       from 9 to 13 years: 240 mg a day

From 14 years of age, the requirements are different for men and women.

  • Males aged 14 to 18 years: 410 mg a day
  • Males aged 19 years and over: 400 to 420 mg a day
  • Females aged 14 to 18 years: 360 mg a day
  • Females aged 19 years and over: 310 to 320 mg a day
  • During pregnancy: 350 to 400 mg a day
  • During breast feeding: 310 to 360 mg a day

Signs of deficiency include:

  • Loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue, muscle cramps, seizures, heart palpitations, etc.
  • Orally one might see ulcers, burning tongue and dry mouth. One might also develop cramping of the TMJ

Sources For Magnesium:

Almonds, shrimp, sunflower seeds and leafy vegetables.

Vitamin pill filled with green vegetables on a fork

Iron:

  • Helps produce red blood cells and transports oxygen throughout the entire body.
  • There is heme and non-heme iron.
  • Heme iron is more easily absorbed and includes poultry, meat and fish.
  • Non-heme iron such as pasta, eggs and grains are more easily absorbed when eaten with a form of heme iron and/ or with foods rich in vitamin C.
  • Signs of an iron deficiency, a form of anemia, include fatigue, paleness, shortness of breath, headaches, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dry hair and skin, brittle fingernails, restless legs and most importantly for us
  • Orally one might see swelling and soreness of the tongue and mouth.
  • Low hemoglobin in iron deficiency can cause the tongue to become pale, while lower levels of myoglobin can cause it to become sore, smooth and swollen.
  • Myoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that supports your muscles, such as the muscle that makes up the tongue.
  • Iron deficiency can also cause dry mouth, sore red cracks at the corners of the mouth (cheilitis) or mouth ulcers.

Sources For Iron:

Dried fruits (apricots, prunes, raisins), eggs, fish, seafood, enriched grain products (breakfast cereal and pasta), legumes (beans, lentils, peas, soybeans) meat (beef, lamb, pork, veal), poultry (chicken and turkey), some vegetables (asparagus and spinach).

To find out more on how vitamins and micronutrients affect our oral health or to book an appointment, Contact Smile Dental Centre.

The Smile Dental Centre, dentists in London Ontario offers a full range of general and cosmetic dental services backed by outstanding patient care for children and adults. The Smile Dental Centre won the Consumer Choice Award six years in a row (2013 – 2018) for general and cosmetic dentistry in the London, ON region. Now that’s something to smile about!