A key factor for strong and healthy-looking teeth and nails is good nutrition, and certain vitamins and minerals are particularly beneficial for maintaing healthy teeth and nails. The condition of our teeth and nails is also usually a good indicator of how healthy or otherwise, the rest of the body is.
Some common nail problems are:
- Brittle, spoon-shaped nails - can be caused by a lack of iron. The most easily absorbed form of iron is found in meat, poultry, tuna or egg yolks. It is also present in smaller quantities in dark green leafy vegetables, grains, almonds
- White spots on the nails - can be caused by bruising, but if you haven't knocked your nails recently, a zinc deficiency could be to blame.
- For cracked or flaking nails, try eating silica-rich foods. Silica is one of the main components of nails. The best food sources include whole grains, oats, barley, millet, onions and beetroot.
- To help nails grow smoothly and evenly, increase the amount of sulfur-rich foods in your diet. Good sources of sulfur include broccoli, cabbage, watercress, eggs, onions, alfalfa.
- To maintain all round good condition of nail health, boost your intake of essential fatty acids.
Good oral hygiene is important to keep teeth and gums healthy, strong and disease-free. Diet can help to hold back signs of dental problems like dull and discolored teeth, bleeding and shrinking gums, bad breath and even gum disease.
calcium and vitamin D are vital for the development of strong healthy teeth, and it is important to maintain a healthy, balanced diet to ensure you are receiving all the nutrients you need.
The best source of vitamin D is sunshine. Good food sources include sardines, tuna, milk and eggs.
The best calcium sources are milk and dairy products, sardines and other fine-boned fish, almonds and spinach.
Many of the most common dental problems are connected with gum disease. Making sure your diet includes plenty of foods rich in Vitamin C will help to combat infection. The body cannot store Vitamin C, so a fresh daily source is essential. Abundant supplies are found in most fruits and vegetables, especially in kiwi fruits, strawberries, citrus fruits and red peppers.
Healthy teeth are not only affected by what you eat, but also with the foods that you avoid.
- Tea, coffee and dark-colored foods all stain and discolor teeth.
- Try to limit your intake of fizzy drinks and other sugary foods and drinks. These not only contain high levels of sugar or toxic artificial sweeteners, they also affect tooth enamel and promote the growth of bacteria which causes gum disease and tooth loss. The acid which creates the fizz in drinks attacks tooth enamel and encourages bacteria and decay.
- Although fruit juice is healthier, the acid and fruit sugars it contains can still damage teeth. Try diluting pure fruit juices with water to make them less concentrated.
- Chewy or boiled sweets are particularly bad for the teeth as they remain in the mouth for a long time. They are also often eaten over a long period of time rather than in one go, which prolongs the time your teeth are under attack by raising sugar and acid levels in the mouth for longer.
Dental health and hygiene are vital for the health of your heart too. The same bacteria that are associated with gum disease can trigger an immune response in the body leading to inflammation, including inflammation of the arteries. Many recent studies have established a link between gum disease and cardiovascular disease and even rheumatoid arthritis.