Beyond Calcium: Three Other Minerals Essential for Healthy Teeth
"Make sure you get enough calcium so your teeth are strong!" You've probably heard this statement from your dentist, your doctor, and your mother at some point or another. While calcium is important for healthy teeth, it is not the only mineral your body needs to grow and maintain strong chompers. Here's a look at four other minerals that are essential for dental health, and where to find them.
This mineral works hand-in-hand with calcium to build strong teeth, but for some reason, calcium gets all of the fame. Perhaps this is because most people get enough phosphorus in their diets without even trying. Still, it is important to be aware of the sources of phosphorus, so you can make sure it's being included in your individual eating plan. Common phosphorus-rich foods include
- Legumes, such as beans and lentils
- Poultry, such as chicken and turkey
- Dried fruits
- Dairy products
Because an overdose of phosphorus can be dangerous, patients should not take phosphorus supplements unless instructed to do so by a medical professional. If you're worried about your phosphorus intake, the best thing to do is to start eating more of the foods above.
Getting enough magnesium in your diet can reduce your risk of tooth decay. A magnesium deficiency can result not only in weak tooth enamel, but in weaker internal tooth structures. Many people are deficient in magnesium, so it's wise to ensure you're including the following magnesium-rich foods in your diet:
- Leafy green vegetables
- Tree nuts and seeds
- Whole grains
- Sea vegetables, such as kelp
If you have a blood test that indicates you're deficient in magnesium, your doctor or dentist may advise that you take magnesium supplements. Most people have no trouble with these supplements, as long as they are taken as directed on the bottle.
You've probably heard of fluoride because it is added to most toothpastes. Fluoride hardens the tooth enamel, making it less susceptible to cavities. It's important that you get plenty of fluoride in your diet, even if you do use fluoride toothpaste, since your body needs to absorb the fluoride to maintain the inner structures of your teeth as well as to harden the tooth enamel. Good sources of fluoride include
- Fluoridated water (Most municipal supplies are fluoridated in the U.S. If using bottled water, check the label.)
- Leafy green veggies, such as spinach.
- Other vegetables, including asparagus, carrots, and beets.
- Fruit juices
Your dentist can likely tell if you're getting enough fluoride by examining your teeth. If he or she thinks you're low in fluoride, you should increase your intake of the foods above, and also consider getting fluoride treatments, in which your dentist applies a fluoride-rich gel to your teeth.
Good nutrition is essential for healthy teeth. In general, if you eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, veggies, and fluoridated water, you should get enough of these three minerals. For more information, talk to a professional like Four Corners Dental Group.