We all know the importance of a healthy balanced diet. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables gives us the vitamins and minerals we need to live a healthy life. But did you know that poor nutrition can affect your teeth as well? I’ll explain how not eating enough nutritious foods can contribute to vitamin and mineral deficiencies that can negatively impact your teeth.
What are the main oral manifestations of nutritional deficiencies?
Generally, mineral deficiencies affect the hard structures (teeth and bones) whilst vitamin deficiencies affect soft tissues. A common early sign of vitamin deficiency is the development of ulcers in the mouth, which vary in size and can last up to three weeks.
Vitamin A deficiency is associated with very low-fat diets and liver problems and affects the skin in the mouth.
Vitamin B deficiencies are typically caused by restrictive diets, such as veganism and digestive disorders. This can lead to painful sores on the side of mouth and lips, swelling of the tongue and red, inflamed gums.
Vitamin C deficiency, which is rare in the UK, is caused by poor fruit and vegetable intake and causes gum swelling and bleeding.
Vitamin D deficiency is very common in the UK, particularly among those who do not get much sunlight exposure or who are on a dairy-free diet. Not getting enough Vitamin D affects the calcification and strength of teeth and bone.