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Vitamin C Is Essential for Oral Health

Dr. Stephen Malone of Knoxville, TN, and his family take a 500-mg tablet of time-release vitamin C every day with their breakfast. Here is why.

Vitamin C helps inhibit the formation of plaque and tartar on your teeth. You need vitamin C for your body to fight infection, synthesize new collagen, and protect DNA, proteins, and long-chain fatty acids from potential damage throughout your body. If you have a deficiency in Vitamin C, you are at higher risk of developing gum inflammation, gum recession, enamel erosion, cavities, tooth sensitivity, abscesses, and systemic inflammation, thereby increasing your risk for heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and a multitude of other inflammatory disease conditions. If you clench or grind your teeth, you will need more vitamin C than others to battle tooth sensitivity and gum disease.

The diet of most Americans does not naturally provide the essential amount of vitamin C needed for optimal health. Realize and remember that all processed foods along with sugar, corn syrup, and other sweeteners deplete the body of vitamin C.

What is the daily minimum allowance? For women age 19+, it is 75 mg. For men age 19+, it is 90 mg. For smokers, the minimum allowance is another 35 mg.

How much is too much? Taking over 2000 mg of vitamin C per day increases the risk for kidney stones, birth defects, atherosclerosis, excessive iron absorption, B-12 deficiency and erosion of dental enamel.

How many mg of vitamin C supplement is recommended for optimal oral health? A typical over-the-count 500 mg tablet of vitamin C should provide more than enough and be well below the amount that affects the body negatively – even when combined with the vitamin C naturally found in citrus fruits, green vegetables, and tomatoes. Because excess intake of water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C, is excreted through urine, some evidence suggests that time-released vitamin C is more advantageous to the body.

Note: Vitamin D also provides significant benefits for periodontal health. Ask your primary physician if you have a vitamin D deficiency and if you should be taking a vitamin D supplement.

If you have signs of gum inflammation, changes in diet and oral hygiene can turn this around relatively quickly. Talk to our dental hygienists about any questions or concerns you have when you come in for a dental cleaning in Knoxville. Our registered dental hygienists are knowledgeable about gum disease, maintaining optimal oral health, and nutrition. Dr. Stephen Malone or Dr. Erin Lee Noble will examine you and, also, explain your individual oral health circumstances.

Your oral health future will be reflected in your health choices. There is much we can do to help you have a healthy mouth and minimize the dentistry you will need in the future, but keep in mind three things:

  1. You should focus on having a nutritional diet, brush and floss twice daily at a minimum, have your teeth professionally cleaned at least twice a year, and have dental checkup every six months. It’s your choice and responsibility to do these things to preserve your oral health.
  2. Treatments are recommended because they stop dental damage and preserve your dental health, function, and smile. It’s your choice and responsibility to accept treatment.
  3. Restoration of teeth with fillings or crowns and replacement of teeth (with traditional bridges and dentures or implant supported prostheses) is successful and predictably lasts when periodontal health is optimal. Therefore, the nutrition your body needs is not a trivial matter. At Knoxville Smiles, we recommend our patients take 500 mg of vitamin C daily, and the time-release version is preferred. This is readily available over the counter.