Essential vitamins and minerals for seniors' oral health

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Rory Mycek
Rory Mycek

As we age, our need for vitamins and minerals increases and we are more prone to developing illnesses and ailments throughout our bodies. Some of these essential vitamins and minerals are especially important to maintaining good oral health. Here are some of the necessary vitamins and minerals and how much seniors should be taking:

Calcium

Calcium is essential for maintaining a healthy mouth. Teeth are made up of calcium, so lacking this key essential mineral can increase your risk of contracting a gum disease or lead to tooth decay. Seniors should be ingesting 1,200 mg of calcium daily. The reason why seniors require more calcium is because their bodies don't absorb it as well as they used to, and they experience increased bone loss in their older years.

Find calcium in: cheese, yogurt, green leafy vegetables, milk, soybeans, whole grains

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is what helps absorb calcium into your body. It helps to preserve bones and decrease risks of developing fractures or osteoporosis. Not only does it help with your oral health, but vitamin D is also shown to help decrease your risk of developing some cancers, heart disease and diabetes. Seniors should be taking in 20 mcg (or 800 IU) of vitamin D per day.

Find vitamin D in: salmon, swordfish, milk, yogurt, eggs, liver, Swiss cheese, margarine

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is essential for maintaining healthy gums and tissue. As we age our gums tend to get more fragile, so this is a very important addition to your diet to strengthen gum tissue to lessen cases of bleeding. Seniors should  take 75 mg for females and 90 mg for males of vitamin C daily. Smokers should be increasing their vitamin C to 35 mg more than nonsmokers.

Find vitamin C in: oranges, peppers, broccoli, tomato juice, strawberries, spinach, grapefruit

Iron

Lacking iron in your diet can lead to a burning sensation in your mouth and on your tongue and even cause swelling with oral sores. These can be tricky to get rid of at times and can be painful. Luckily seniors only require 8 mg of iron per day, so this should be an easy mineral to include in your diet.

Find iron in: oatmeal, lentils, beans, tofu, spinach, raisins, 1 slice of bread

Vitamin B

Lacking B vitamins in your diet can lead to bad breath and pale tissue that can break apart easily, or canker sores. Seniors should include 2.4 mcg of B12 and perhaps think about taking a B-complex. Vegetarians and those who follow a vegan diet should especially be careful and aware of their need for vitamin B.

Find vitamin B in: beef, liver, clams, nutritional yeasts, poultry, eggs, dairy products.

Rory Mycek is a guest contributor for www.topdentists.com

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