If you are undergoing treatment with orthodontic braces or Invisalign aligners, should you be taking nutritional supplements to give extra support to this process of straightening your teeth and keeping your gums healthy in the process?
Unfortunately, very few Americans have followed a truly healthy diet, while the medical system emphasizes treating illness, rather than prevention, unlike most other developed countries. These are the major factors in why the U.S. ranks behind most in health outcomes, despite spending much more on healthcare, according to World Health Systems Facts.
The Diet Plays a Role
American diets tend to be high in fats and meat, excessive in the mineral phosphorus, but low in fiber and complex carbohydrates like vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, beans, and legumes (such as peas). The average adult also eats nearly 100 pounds of sugar per year, since it is widely used as a preservative, and it is a major cause of cavities, with many other negative effects, including significantly raising the risk of diabetes. Dentists favor Xylitol, a sweetener that actually fights oral bacteria. Less obviously, refined foods like the white flour that is used in most baking, white rice and pasta also quickly turn into sugar in the blood.
Maintaining Strong Bones is Important
Hence, according to certified nutritionist Phyllis Balch, author of the worldwide bestseller on clinical evidence Prescription for Nutritional Healing, most Americans could improve their overall and oral health, by adding some supplements. The most important for helping the body to have strong bones in every area, including the mouth:
- Calcium: Take about 1,600 mg. a day with food (good sources are dairy and green leafy vegetables). Calcium is a major component of bones, so this can help prevent osteoporosis or bone loss, as well as make sure your jaw and teeth are strong.
- Magnesium: You need about half as much as calcium for them to be absorbed well and work together to keep your skeleton healthy, so about 800 mg. each day, taken at the same time. Magnesium is also known as a relaxer, so many people take some before they go to bed (good food sources include brown rice, the grain quinoa, brazil nuts, almonds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and lima beans).
- Vitamin D: Many people either have dark skin or avoid the sun so they do not get burned, consequently do not get adequate sunlight needed to stimulate the skin to produce vitamin D. Experts recommend 5,000 International Units per day to maintain bone density (good food sources include fortified dairy products, eggs, fish, mushrooms, and orange juice).
In addition, vitamin C can fight gum infections and help healing, but it is a water soluble vitamin, which means it only stays in the blood for about five hours. Orthodontist recommend 2,000 mg. twice a day (it’s easiest to remember if you just take supplements with breakfast and lunch).
Eat healthy, take whatever nutritional supplements your healthcare advisor recommends for your unique case, be sure to maintain an effective program of brushing and flossing, and have your dental hygienist do a professional cleaning at least twice a year. Dr. Song will keep you informed about how well your orthodontic treatment is progressing and if you need to upgrade your program.