Monday, 29 September 2014

Eat Your Way to a Better Smile


Like any part of our bodies, our teeth need special, nutritional, care. Here are a few nutrients to consider if you want to maintain or improve the health of your teeth...

1. Vitamin C - This vitamin is important for the production of collagen, which is part of the dentin layer of your teeth (the layer underneath the enamel). It will also help to improve your gum health and encourage healing. You can get vitamin C in foods like apples, oranges, capsicum and green leafy vegetables.

2. Calcium (and Phosphorus) - Together, calcium and phosphorus form the mineral component of tooth enamel, called hydroxyapatite. Low levels of calcium (especially when combined with a high intake of phosphoric acid, which comes with a high intake of soft drinks) leads to de-mineralisation of the enamel layer of your teeth, which can then lead to dental carries. Calcium is extremely important during the formation of teeth, such as during childhood, and it can be found in green leafy vegetables, tahini and dairy products.

3. Vitamin D - Vitamin D in its active form (1, 25-dihydroxy cholecalciferol - in case you were wondering) helps to increase calcium absorption in the intestines. It is important to get at least 15-20 minutes of sunlight each day, to help your body keep up its vitamin D levels.

4. Fluoride - There is a lot of debate as to if fluoride is actually important for teeth health, or, if it is a money scheme developed by certain companies as a clever way for them to dispose of waste products from other products. Then there is also the conspiracy theories about fluoride in drinking water and Hitler and using it to control people. While I am unsure as to where I stand in the debate, I do know that my textbooks state that fluoride is important in increasing the enamel's resistance to carries (by combining with hydroxyapatite to form fluoroapatite), and that they also state that too much fluoride can lead dark spots on the teeth. I also know that children under 6 should not use fluoridated toothpaste, and that dental products that do contain fluoride have warnings about ingestion of the product... It is because of this conflicting evidence that I generally alternate between fluoride and fluoride-free (herbal) toothpastes.

This is provided purely as information, not medical advice - if you are unwell, please seek assistance from your healthcare professional.

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