A trip down the vitamin aisle at your local pharmacy can be an overwhelming experience. With literally hundreds of brands and types of vitamins to choose from, it’s hard to know which one you need to address your specific health needs. Do you go with a generic multi-vitamin? A probiotic? A chewable? And how do you know what dose to take, or if you’re already getting enough of certain vitamins from your diet or other medications?
The best advice we can give you about vitamins is to speak to your physician about which supplement is best for you, but if you are looking for a vitamin to improve your oral health, here are a few that have proven benefits. Remember: If you’re interested in trying any of these vitamins, speak to Dr. Abelar or your physician to see if they would be a good fit with your lifestyle.
Vitamin D is a versatile vitamin that helps increase your absorption of the minerals phosphorus and calcium, which are both integral to bone health and growth. While vitamin D is available in supplement form, it’s also available for free just by stepping outside! That’s right - you can get a daily boost of vitamin D through exposure to sunshine. All you need is about 10 minutes of sunshine (experts suggest midday sun) per day to reap the benefits! If you can’t make the time, and aren’t interested in a supplement, you can also up your vitamin D intake by eating vitamin D-rich foods like salmon, shrimp, egg yolk, and vitamin D-fortified foods like yogurt, orange juice, milk and cereal.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant vitamin that can help protect your cells from damage. People who can benefit from taking a vitamin E supplement are those who smoke, those who spend a lot of time in the sun, and those who are exposed to elevated levels of air pollution, such as those in larger metro areas like San Diego and Los Angeles. While it is said to be difficult to take too much vitamin E, the FDA recommends sticking to under 1,000 IUs of vitamin E per day. You can also up your vitamin E levels naturally by eating foods including sunflower seeds, spinach, almonds, mangoes, tomatoes and peanuts.
Vitamin A is another great vitamin for oral health, because it helps encourage salivary production, which keeps the mouth hydrated and helps stave off s. mutans bacteria. It also keeps your breath fresh by keeping your mouth in an alkaline state. You can consume more vitamin A naturally by drinking milk, eating fish, eating liver or eating fortified cereals.
You’ve probably heard a lot about the benefits of calcium for strong teeth and bones. Well, your teeth and jawbone are bones, too! Calcium helps your teeth by helping to build tooth enamel. It also strengthens your jawbone. Your jawbone is pretty important - without it you couldn’t talk or chew. Thankfully, calcium supplements are widely available and even come in gummy and caramel or chocolate chew form. You can also increase your intake of calcium by eating foods like dairy, broccoli, kale and tofu. Many foods come calcium fortified, too, like orange juice and certain cereals. Just check the label!
Potassium is another mineral that helps your bones increase mineral density, which makes them stronger. Potassium is naturally found in foods like bananas, dark leafy greens like spinach and kale, avocados, nuts, milk and even citrus fruits. The FDA recommends people over the age of 14 consume about 4,700 mg of potassium per day, and nursing mothers should bump up their intake to 5,100 mg.
While many of these vitamins are available in foods we eat every day, if you’re interested in increasing your intake via vitamin supplements, speak to Dr. Abelar or your physician about which supplement will work best for your individual needs, as some vitamins may interfere with certain medications or health conditions. As always, Dr. Abelar can be reached at 858-866-9692.