Written By:

Dr. Kyle Fagala, DDS, MDS

Board-certified Orthodontist, husband and father of 3, drummer, and ginger living in Germantown, Tennessee.

 Living in the South, my family and I get to enjoy many different types of cuisine from Mexican enchiladas, Thai curry, Italian cuisine and old-fashioned barbecue. When experiencing all of these different types of cuisine, we also think about what is healthy for our overall diet and health of our teeth. Having a well-rounded nutritional diet is important and promotes the wellbeing of your oral hygiene. Whether deciding on what to cook for the family dinner or where to enjoy your Sunday brunch, there are some steps that you may want take in order to maintain a healthy smile.  

Vitamins for a Healthy Smile

First let’s take a look at what the 7 vitamins that you should be on the lookout for and what foods contain them to help keep up your oral hygiene:

-Calcium is probably the one major vitamin that comes to people’s minds when thinking of bones and teeth. This is the key to the overall strength of your teeth and also helps with the hardening of the enamel. We all know that milk and cheese are great sources of calcium but so are broccoli, salmon, and yogurt.  

-Vitamin D goes hand-in-hand with calcium, it is what helps with the absorption of the calcium into your teeth and mineral density.  Our body already makes vitamin D from the absorption of sunlight through our skin but you can also get it from fatty fish, mushrooms, milk, and orange juice.

-Potassium improves bone density, but it also works with magnesium to make sure that the blood is not too acidic and doesn’t leach calcium from your teeth.  Foods that are rich in this vitamin are bananas, lima beans, potatoes and sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and avocados.

-Phosphorus also helps with the absorption of calcium into the teeth.  You should look at foods such beef, pork, cheese, soybeans, lentils, and almost all seafood.

-Vitamin K helps protect your bones from breaking down and creates a protein called osteocalcin which promotes bone growth. Leafy greens, broccoli and brussel sprouts are all rich in vitamin K.

-Vitamin C is very important for your strengthening your gums and soft tissue around the mouth.  This helps with the prevention of gum disease, teeth loss, and gingivitis.  You can find vitamin C in most citrusy fruits as well as leafy green and potatoes.

-Vitamin A helps mucous membranes stay healthy, prevents dry mouth and decreases the time it takes to heal.  You can find vitamin A in many kinds of foods such as eggs, fish, kale, pumpkin, and orange colored fruits.

All these vitamins are important for a beautiful smile and your overall health as well.  You might want to take a daily vitamin supplement to make sure all of your bases are covered if you think you may be lacking in some of these areas.  If you are doing so, be sure to tell your orthodontist so that you two are on the same page.  If you are just going to rely on your food intake to cover your vitamin needs, make sure that your diet is wide and varied.  Sticking to just one type of meat, fruit or vegetable may mean that you are missing out on some other important vitamins that are key to your overall oral health.  

 

Beware of Acidic Foods and Drinks

We all know that eating too much sugary food can cause cavities, but there is also another culprit when it comes to oral health: acidic erosion of the teeth.  Tooth erosion occurs when the acidity of a certain food or beverage wears away the protective surface of the tooth or the enamel, which reveals the underlying material, and the dentin which can lead you susceptible to plaque and other forms of decay.  There are just a few items that cause acid erosion and that you should be aware of such as wine, carbonated drinks, coffee, fruit juice and citrus fruits, candy, and sugar.  Although sugar doesn’t directly cause acidic erosion, it does create an environment where acidic-creating bacteria can start to manifest in your mouth.  There are signs of tooth erosion such as sensitivity, discoloration, rounded teeth, transparency, cracks, and cupping.  If you notice any of these signs, call your orthodontist immediately and schedule an appointment.

There are steps that you can take to avoid these issues but also enjoy your favorite food or beverage.  You can eat and drink acidic items with your meals; that way you reduce the amount of time your teeth are in contact with them.  Also with your meals or acidic snacks, you should drink water to help wash out your teeth from any acidic residue.  Try to avoid drinking carbonated beverages, as these are high in acidity and sugar, so it will cause double the damage.  You maybe tempted to brush your teeth right after eating or drinking these acidic items, but you should instead wait at least half an hour because brushing right after having something acidic will actually cause even more damage than not brushing at all.

 

Tasty Healthy Foods and Drink

We understand that getting your daily vitamins can be hard. That’s why we came up with some fan-favorite recipes that will help keep you on track: 

Cheesy Zucchini Rounds

 

This is an easy-to-prepare snack that consists of baked sliced zucchini with crispy parmesan cheese.  This is a great source of calcium and vitamin C.

Ingredients:

2–3 zucchinis

Grated Parmesan cheese

Black pepper

Garlic salt

Olive oil

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with a thin layer of olive oil. After washing the zucchini, cut into quarter-inch slices and place onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle each slice with garlic salt and black pepper, then add a teaspoon of grated Parmesan cheese. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cheese turns golden brown.

 kaplan ortho dunwoody mac salad.jpg

Bright and Sunny Macaroni Salad

This is a nice and cool macaroni salad to enjoy on your summer days.  It has Calcium, Vitamin D, C, and A.

Ingredients:

8 oz. dry elbow macaroni

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar

2 teaspoon dijon mustard

2 teaspoon honey

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

1 cup diced red bell pepper

1 cup carrots, diced

3/4 cup diced celery

1/4 cup diced red onion

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

 

Directions:

Cook macaroni in salted water according to directions on package. Drain and rinse with cold water until completely cool. Let drain very well.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, vinegar, mustard, honey, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add well-drained macaroni to a large mixing bowl along with eggs, bell pepper, carrots, celery, and onion.

Pour dressing over the top, add in parsley, and toss mixture to coat evenly. Serve immediately, or store in refrigerator for up to 1 day.

 

 

Strawberry Lemonade Smoothiekaplan ortho dunwoody lemonade.png

This drink is for those days in the sun when you want to just sit back and enjoy the day.  This has Calcium, Vitamin C and A.  As a note: this is acidic so be sure to drink water after consumption.

Ingredients:

1½ cups frozen strawberries

1½ cups good quality lemonade

½ cup vanilla or strawberry yogurt

 

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth, scraping the sides of the blender as necessary. Serve immediately or refrigerate or freeze for later.

 

Saddle Creek Orthodontics

Becoming aware of what you eat and how it affects your oral hygiene is as important to you as it is to Saddle Creek Orthodontics. If you have any questions or concerns, we would be happy to answer them.  Whether you are looking get some braces, Invisalign, or an orthodontic treatment, SCO is dedicated to helping you find your amazing smile. If you’re a new patient one or a current one, feel free to schedule an appointment with Saddle Creek Orthodontics.

Best,

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