Calcium and vitamin D are not the only nutrients you need for good oral health. Vitamin A, the nutrient best-known for its role in eye health, is also essential for healthy gums, teeth, and oral tissues. Read on to learn more about this vitamin and how you can ensure you're getting enough to keep your teeth healthy.
How does vitamin A keep your mouth healthy?
One of vitamin A's primary roles is to help epidermal cells grow and maintain themselves. Your mouth is lined with epidermal cells. Whenever they are damaged (such as when you bite your cheek or develop a canker sore), vitamin A is necessary in order for them to heal properly. Vitamin A also helps keep your gum tissues strong, so you don't develop gum disease. This, in turn, keeps your teeth healthy and intact – since severe gum disease is known for causing tooth loss.
Vitamin A also helps ensure a healthy flow of saliva in the mouth. Saliva helps rinse sugars and acids off the surface of your teeth, preventing tooth decay.
What are some signs that you're not getting enough vitamin A?
If you're not eating enough vitamin A, you may notice that your mouth feels dry or that you're developing early signs of gum disease (such as swollen gums or gums that bleed after brushing). Other deficiency symptoms include:
- Trouble seeing clearly at night
- Dry skin
- Slow wound healing (in and out of the mouth)
How can you get more vitamin A?
You should be able to get enough vitamin A in your diet by eating foods that are rich in this nutrient. All orange and yellow vegetables and fruits, including squash, carrots, mangoes, and oranges, contain substantial portions of this vitamin. It can also be found in fortified dairy products and juices, leafy greens, and beef liver.
If for some reason you are not able to eat these vitamin A-rich foods, you could take a supplement. Just be careful to take it as directed on the package, as taking too much vitamin A can lead to side effects like headache and diarrhea.
What is the RDA for vitamin A?
Men should aim for 900 mcg of vitamin A per day, and women should aim for 700 mcg.
If you have been suffering from gum problems or are showing other signs of vitamin A deficiency, talk to your family dentist at Alouette Dental Centre. He or she can work with you to ensure your oral health does not suffer while you take steps to increase your intake of this nutrient.