Important Minerals & Vitamins For Children’s Teeth
Brushing and flossing are just the start of maintaining the health of your child’s teeth and gums. There are several vitamins and minerals — other than fluoride — that are essential to oral health. If you’ve been regularly brushing your child’s teeth and they have still been experiencing tooth decay or mouth issues, it’s important to evaluate their diet. They may be lacking the vitamins or minerals they need to build and sustain strong, healthy teeth. Outlined below are some of the minerals and vitamins we feel are the most important in improving and maintaining the health of your child’s mouth.
Minerals That Aid in Tooth Health
Some children are told to drink milk to make them strong, and calcium is often associated with strong bones. What parents might not know is that calcium also helps strengthen and protect your teeth. It’s an extremely important mineral for constructing the teeth themselves, and it serves as a protective barrier from bacteria once the teeth are fully formed. This is arguably the most important nutrient your child needs for strong teeth, combined with the minerals and vitamins your body needs to absorb it, which you’ll read about below.
Good sources of calcium:
- Dark leafy greens such as spinach or kale
- Fortified cereals such as Raisin Bran or Corn Flakes
- Enriched breads, grains, and waffles
We understand that milk and dairy products are generally the main source for calcium and lactose intolerant children might feel like their sources for calcium is limited. However, there are a number of over the counter brands that carry calcium supplements specifically designed for children. Make sure your children are getting the calcium that their bodies need!
Potassium plays three important roles in your children’s teeth. First, it helps teeth absorb calcium, which we’ve already established is important for the creation and maintenance of teeth. Second, potassium works with magnesium to prevent blood from becoming too acidic, which could drain the calcium from teeth. Finally, it serves as a supportive substance in increasing the density of teeth — without potassium, your children’s teeth can become brittle.
Good sources of potassium:
- Cooked broccoli
- Cooked spinach
This mineral is essential during the creation of your child’s teeth because it’s the substance that forms the hard layer of enamel that protects teeth from bacteria and leftover food. Magnesium also helps promote blood flow and promote the absorption of calcium, further strengthening and protecting your children’s teeth.
Good sources of magnesium:
- Whole grains
Phosphorus is an essential mineral for many bodily functions, including building the instructional integrity of your child’s teeth. Most people aren’t concerned with adding phosphorus to their diet because it’s naturally found in common foods, but you may need to supplement your child’s phosphorus intake if your family has a history of low phosphorus levels.
Good sources of phosphorus:
- Whole grains
Essential Vitamins for Teeth
Vitamin A greatly affects your overall oral health as it promotes the flow of saliva in your child’s mouth. Having an adequate salivary flow is essential for healthy gums, which serve as the foundation for teeth. It helps the gums by allowing them to heal properly, reducing the risk of infection to protect your child’s gums and cheeks. Saliva also plays a crucial role in wiping acid that is lingering on the surface of each tooth.
Good sources of vitamin A:
- Butternut squash
- Sweet potato
Vitamin C is similar to vitamin A in that its main purpose in the health of your child’s teeth is through protecting their gums. As an antioxidant, it promotes healing in your child’s gums and reduces inflammation — both essential to your child’s oral health.
Good sources of vitamin C:
- Brussel sprouts
Vitamin D and calcium go hand-in-hand in creating healthy, strong teeth. While calcium is the mineral your children need to create dense teeth, vitamin D allows your child’s body to absorb it. Your child will not be able to benefit from their calcium intake if it’s not able to be properly absorbed through their body.
Good sources of vitamin D:
- Sunlight for about 15 minutes/day
- Red meat
- Egg yolks
- Fortified milk
- Fortified cereal
Contact the Pediatric Dental Experts in Des Moines and Ankeny
Incorporating these essential nutrients into your child’s diet should improve the health and strength of their teeth while increasing their overall health. It’s important to remember that how you take care of your child’s teeth now can affect their health and help them avoid complications when they’re older. If you need additional advice on optimizing your child’s oral health, contact the Pediatric Dentistry of Central Iowa team to schedule an appointment. Our dentists would be happy to walk through healthy dental habits that are specific to your child’s needs.