Micronutrients are the vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants that we get from our diet. The macronutrients describe the category that foods fall into – ‘carbs’ or ‘fats’ for instance – while the micronutrients are the nutritional substances that are within specific food items. Bread is a carb for instance, but it contains a number of micronutrients.
Micronutrients also serve a number of important purposes for the teeth, and one of the signs that you might not be getting enough is dull, easily damaged teeth. Eating more fruits and vegetables is a fantastic way to fix this problem, though of course it is important to avoid consuming too much fruit owing to the high sugar content. Stick to vegetable smoothies and 5 fruits a day.
Here are five micronutrients you’ll get from fruits and vegetables that will greatly improve your teeth. And that’s before we even consider the way the fiber helps to “brush” them while you eat!
Calcium is the micronutrient that may first come to mind when considering tooth health and for good reason: calcium is used to strengthen bones and teeth and if you don’t get enough then your teeth may become brittle and more likely to get chipped or damaged. Calcium can be found in milk, as well as in cheese and many green vegetables.
Calcium on its own is not enough for your tooth health though as your body also needs to actually use that calcium. Vitamin D helps you do precisely this, and it can also help to preserve the strength and health of the gums and jaw. Low vitamin D can lead to osteoporosis as well as chronic inflammatory disorders, weakened jaw and gums and other issues.
Normally we get vitamin D from the sun, but it is possible to get it from certain fortified foods such as cereals.
Many micronutrients such as vitamin E, C and carotenoids can be classified as antioxidants. This means that they help to reduce ‘oxidative stress’ (damage from free radicals) on the cells. This includes the cells in the mouth and insufficient amounts of antioxidants can thus lead to gingivitis and other issues.
Fluorides are a key component in most toothpastes and for good reasons. Not only do fluorides help to strengthen the enamel and help the teeth to protect themselves, but they also combat bacteria and increase saliva. Fluoride can be found in apples, cheese, cod, eggs, meat and many other sources. The biggest sources though are toothpaste and tap water which has added fluoride.
Bromelain is found in pineapple and is a natural anti-inflammatory as well as a cleansing and whitening substance for the teeth. For this reason it is a popular addition to whitening toothpastes and thus can help give you a bright smile!