Getting lots of vitamins and minerals in your diet is essential for everyone, especially for patients with braces. Adequate vitamins and minerals in your diet can prevent nutrient deficiencies and help keep your teeth and gums healthy while you have braces. Here are the top vitamins and minerals you need while wearing braces.
Vitamin C for gum health.
Vitamin C is essential for maintaining healthy gums, especially when wearing braces. Braces can make it difficult to properly clean your teeth and gums, which can lead to gum disease. Vitamin C helps strengthen the connective tissues in your gums, preventing them from becoming inflamed and bleeding. Here are some good sources of vitamin C:
- Citrus fruits
- Red and Green bell peppers
Vitamin D for strong teeth.
Vitamin D is crucial for strong teeth and bones, making it a vital vitamin in your diet when wearing braces. This vitamin helps your body absorb calcium, which is essential for building and maintaining strong teeth. Good sources of vitamin D include:
- Fish: salmon, tuna, swordfish, sardines
- Egg yolks
- Dairy and plant milk fortified with vitamin D
- Beef liver
- Fortified cereals
Our bodies can also produce vitamin D from sunlight. It is the most natural source of vitamin D. Aim for 10-30 minutes of sunlight midday several times per week, but be sure to wear sunscreen to protect your skin.
Vitamin B12 for reducing inflammation.
Inflammation is a common side effect of wearing braces, as the brackets and wires can irritate the gums and soft tissues in the mouth. Vitamin B12 has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, making it a great addition to your diet while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Good sources of vitamin B12 include:
- Dairy products
If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, you can find vitamin B12 in fortified cereals and plant-based milk alternatives or vitamin B12 supplements.
Vitamin A for promoting healing.
Vitamin A is essential for promoting healing and maintaining healthy tissues in the mouth. When wearing braces, the wires and brackets can cause minor cuts or sores in the mouth, and vitamin A can help speed up the healing process. Good sources of vitamin A include:
- Leafy greens (kale, spinach, broccoli)
- Yellow and orange vegetables – carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, yellow squash) Be sure to eat only cooked carrots while wearing braces. (Eat steamed carrots while you are wearing braces)
While vitamin A is essential for oral health, too much can be harmful, so it’s best to get it from food rather than supplements.
Calcium for overall oral health.
Calcium is essential for overall oral health. Especially when wearing braces, it helps to strengthen teeth and bones and can also help to prevent tooth decay. Good sources of calcium include:
- Dairy products
- Leafy greens
- Fortified foods such as orange juice and cereal
Getting enough calcium in your diet, especially when undergoing orthodontic treatment, is essential to ensure your teeth and bones stay strong and healthy.
Potassium & Magnesium
Like vitamin D, potassium improves your bone mineral density. It also works with magnesium to prevent your blood from becoming too acidic, which can leach calcium from your bones and teeth. Some good sources of potassium and magnesium are:
- Dark chocolate
- Leafy green vegetables
- Legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas, soy)
Phosphorus is a mineral that’s in your bones and teeth. It works with calcium to create the main structural component of bones and tooth enamel. So, your body needs phosphorous to keep your teeth and bones strong. Good sources of phosphorous include:
- Pumpkin seeds
Keep a Balanced Diet
You don’t have to worry about remembering the food sources for each vitamin and mineral when you keep a healthy, balanced diet. And summertime is a great time to work on your diet because so many fruits and vegetables are available this time of year. So, pick out your favorites and add them to your diet. There are also all sorts of desserts you can make with fruit. So, dig in, and enjoy.
Dr. Tripp Cobb