Salami isn’t known as a health food but apparently along with butter and soft cheeses it might be good for our oral hygiene.
According to dentist Dr Steven Lin, good dental nutrition is more important than toothpaste. On his website he wrote that teeth were living organs that required proper nutrition to regenerate and maintain healthy levels of enamel and dentin, and that without proper nutrition teeth would struggle to stay intact. Only through getting the right nutrients, vitamins, and minerals could teeth continue to regenerate throughout your life.
‘Vitamins, minerals, and enzymes find their way to the outer layers of your teeth from the inner pulp through the dentin in tiny routes called, dentinal tubules. When you have sufficient vitamins and minerals, your teeth with naturally regenerate and remain strong and healthy,’ says Dr Lin. ‘But when you aren’t getting the right nutrients, the bacteria and acid in your mouth begin to overcome the healing process and breakdown down your teeth faster than they can regenerate.’
Dr Lin also stated that it wasn’t just sugar that caused cavities – it was also the lack of tooth-strengthening nutrients as teeth weren’t quick to heal naturally as soft organs such as the skin and liver. The slow healing process meant that once you started down the path to tooth enamel loss, it was a lot harder to stop and reverse.
So what foods can improve our dental health?
Cheese, eggs, butter, salami – vitamin K2
Calcium is crucial for healthy, strong bones but without vitamin K2, it can end up going to the wrong places. Vitamin K2, Dr Lin says, ‘like the traffic cop for your calcium, telling it where and when to go’. ‘And if you have vitamin K2 deficiency, your calcium ends up on your arteries and kidneys instead of helping to rebuild your teeth. It’s a key vitamin in the dental-heart connection.’
Spinach, broccoli, nuts – vitamin E
Vitamin E is an antioxidant which helps keep the mouth microbiome healthy and keeps bacteria at bay.
Mushrooms, oily fish – vitamin D
Dr Lin says vitamin D is ‘probably one of the most important vitamins for your teeth’ because it’s responsible for keeping our bones strong. ‘In a review of 24 clinical trials, examining the connection between vitamin D and tooth decay found that vitamin D reduces dental cavities. ‘Also, there’s actually a little immune system within your teeth, called your odontoblasts, which needs vitamin D to be activated. Your odontoblasts are the cells of your teeth that produce dentin and are vital to tooth regeneration.’ He recommends getting at least 2,000 IU of vitamin D a day – the equivalent of 20 minutes in the sun. You can also by vitamin D sprays which are useful in the winter.
Liver, milk, eggs – vitamin A
Vitamin A is necessary for saliva production which protects the teeth from harmful bacteria.