Scurvy: It's thought of as the disease of pirates and seafarers, resulting from a deficiency of vitamin C. It causes the teeth to fall out of the gums to become sore and swollen. Scurvy is rarely seen these days, as fresh foods are readily available, but if you're slightly deficient in vitamin C, you may suffer oral health effects without developing full-blown scurvy. Here's a closer look at what a lack of vitamin C can do to your teeth and gums – and some tips for ensuring you get enough of this vital nutrient.
What problems does a lack of vitamin C cause in your mouth?
As you're probably aware, vitamin C is important for keeping your immune system in high gear. Without it, your body is not as adept at fighting off pathogens, including the oral bacteria that cause gum disease and tooth decay. Have you noticed that your gums bleed when you brush or floss? A lack of vitamin C may be to blame. Gum disease may not seem too serious early on, but if you don't do anything about it, you may eventually have loose or missing teeth.
Tooth decay, whether in the form of small, early cavities or more extensive decay, can be painful and unsightly. If you've been brushing, flossing, and avoiding sugar, yet you still have decay, there's a chance you're low in vitamin C.
How can you get more vitamin C?
Drinking more orange juice is the obvious suggestion, but actually, orange juice is really high in sugar, so it's not a great choice for your oral health overall. There are plenty of less sugary sources of vitamin C, including:
- Yellow peppers: One large pepper contains about 341 mg of vitamin C, which is 569% of the daily value! Slice these up for salads and stir fries.
- Kale: A cup of chopped kale contains about 80 mg, or 134% of the daily value of vitamin C. Add kale to salads or smoothies. It's also delicious cooked in soups.
- Broccoli: A cup of chopped broccoli contains about 81 mg or 135% of the daily value of vitamin C. Eat it raw with dip, or steam it as an excellent dinner side.
If you think you may not be getting enough vitamin C, talk to your dentist. They can take a look at your teeth and gums and let you know if this is a likely cause for the issues you're developing.
For more information, contact Bradley T Piotrowski DDS MSD LLC or a similar dental professional.