Vitamin C And Gum Health: What You Need To Know

Do your gums bleed or swell? Is brushing your gums painful? Having healthier gums may be as simple as increasing your consumption of Vitamin C. That's right—altering your diet to get more of this important vitamin can prevent gum disease. To find out more about how to incorporate Vitamin C into your daily routine for better gum health, keep reading.

Why is Vitamin C so important?

One of the leading causes of gum disease is poor nutrition, namely, a lack of fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet. And when you're short on Vitamin C, your gums bleed. Why? Vitamin C is an antioxidant, and it's essential for maintaining and repairing connective tissue and accelerating bone growth. People who consume less than 60 mg of Vitamin C daily are 1.5 times more likely to develop gum disease than those who consume 180 mg or more.

How much Vitamin C do I need?

The amount of Vitamin C that you need each day varies by age. According to the National Institutes of Health, adult men need 90 mg a day, and adult women need 75 mg a day (or 85 mg if pregnant). If you smoke, you need to add an additional 35 mg to your daily diet. Children need more Vitamin C as infants than they do during their toddler years, perhaps because toddlers are more likely to consume more fruits, veggies and juices.

How can I get more Vitamin C?

It's important to fix a Vitamin C deficiency, but you should tackle the poor nutrition problem, too. Instead of supplements, opt for adding more Vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables to your diet. Avoid too many fruit or vegetable juices, which are rich in sugars and acids, which can erode the teeth. They're also more calorie-dense, so if you're watching your weight, stick to whole Vitamin C-rich fruits and veggies, such as 

  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Carrots
  • Mangoes
  • Red peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Papaya
  • Broccoli
  • Cantaloupe
  • Brussel sprouts

Can't I just take a vitamin?

Sure, you can take vitamins, and you should if dietary restrictions prevent you from getting enough Vitamin C in the foods you eat. But the reason most people have Vitamin C deficiencies is due to a poor diet, which is why many professionals recommend that you change the way you eat first.

Tip: Avoid chewable vitamins. While they're tasty, they adhere to the teeth, and the sugars and acids in them can erode tooth enamel over time.

After increasing your intake of Vitamin C, you should see a marked improvement in your gum health. If bleeding gums persist, talk to a dentist like Associated Family Dentistry LTD about other solutions.