Vitamins and your oral health

If you visit your dentist because your mouth is burning or if you visit your dentist because your gums bleed easily then you may get a prescription for fruits like strawberries and broccoli. You won’t be getting prescriptions for any pills.

Following a healthy diet is important for your mouth and for your whole body. Some vitamin deficiencies could have severe effects on your teeth and on your mouth. If you have a sore mouth or if your gums bleed frequently then you may not be able to eat properly. This will eventually make your vitamin deficiency even worse.

Older people are more likely to have vitamin deficiencies because they have problems absorbing nutrients from their food. Younger people can also have problems absorbing nutrients. You should ask your physician for help in determining your vitamin deficiencies and how they should be addressed. Your dentist will be able to spot your oral problems. Your dentist will also spot whether you have a vitamin deficiency causing the oral problems.

How will vitamin B deficiency affect your oral health?

Vitamin B deficiencies are one of the most common deficiencies that can affect your teeth and your mouth.  Common oral effects of vitamin B deficiency are burning sensations in the mouth and on the tongue, trouble swallowing, swollen tongue, and pale tissues in the inner cheeks that could break apart easily and come off.

Deficiency in vitamin B can lead to anaemia or a low red blood cell count. If you have a serious B12 deficiency then you could get neurological problems like num or tingling limbs.

Folic acid is a type of vitamin B and deficiency in this vitamin can give you burning sensations in your mouth. Like B12 deficiency, you can have numb or tingling limbs if you are deficient in folic acid. Folic acid is important to the development of the foetus. If you do not have enough folic acid early in your pregnancy then you will risk having a baby with neural tube defects.

Deficiencies in vitamin B can increase your risks of getting

  • angular cheilitis is a painful inflammation in the mouth. It can also be referred to as a fungal infection
  • recurrent aphthous stomatitis or canker sores
  • chronic oral mucosal candidiasis is a fungal infection in the mouth. The candida albicans fungus is normally found in the mouth and does not usually cause problems however, if you absorb nutrients poorly then you will increase your chances of getting this
  • atrophic glossitis is a condition that causes the taste buds to degenerate. Your tongue will look bald and your sense of taste will be affected. This can occur if you have a serious vitamin deficiency


You can get vitamin B from the following sources

  • thiamine or B1 can be acquired from pork, whole and enriched grains, nuts, dried beans, and legumes
  • riboflavin or B2 can be acquired from eggs, liver, shellfish, almonds, and milk
  • niacin or B3 can be acquired from liver, meat, poultry, whole grains, fish, and peanuts
  • pyroxidine or B6 can be acquired from poultry, meat, fish, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, bananas, legumes, fruits, and nuts
  • cobalamin B12 can be acquired from meat, poultry, milk, fish, eggs, and fortified cereals
  • folic acid or folate can be acquired from vegetables, legumes, orange juice, broccoli, fortified cereals, asparagus, and nuts


How will a deficiency in iron affect your oral health?

If you are deficient in iron then you will get

  • a burning sensation in your tongue
  • a burning sensation in your mouth
  • fungal infections in your mouth
  • swelling of your tongue
  • redness of your tongue
  • oral sores
  • pale oral tissues


If you have a poor diet or if you have intestinal problems that reduce iron absorption then you could have an iron deficiency. If you lose blood regularly through heavy menstrual periods or internal bleeding then you could have a deficiency in iron. You could get anaemia.

In order to prevent deficiency in iron, you should consider getting iron from sources such as

  • lean meat
  • leafy green vegetables
  • shellfish
  • beans
  • whole-grain bread


If you still have iron deficiency despite having a diet full of these foods then you may have to take iron supplements.

How will a deficiency in vitamin C affect your oral health?

Vitamin C helps in the synthesis of collagen. Collagen is the primary building block of several tissues. Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid. If you have deficiency in Vitamin C then your gum could bleed easily. Gingivitis or the first stage of gum disease could also cause your gums to bleed easily. Fatigue and easy bruising are also body-wide symptoms of a lack of vitamin C. You should get a lot of vitamin C. It can be acquired

acquired from

  • citrus fruits
  • tomatoes
  • dark green vegetables
  • strawberries
  • cantaloupe
  • peppers


If you smoke then the vitamin C in your body will be depleted. Smokers will need extra doses of vitamin C.

How will a deficiency in vitamin A affect your oral health?

Vitamin A will help your skin cells grow. They will also help in maintaining them. If you lack vitamin A then there will be delayed healing in your mouth. Some of the good sources of vitamin A include

  • fortified milk
  • chicken liver
  • beef liver
  • leafy green vegetables
  • orange fruits
  • yellow fruits
  • apricots
  • cantaloupe
  • sweet potatoes
  • pumpkin
  • carrots


Vitamin A can be stored in the fat in your body so you should not take high dosages of this. Overdosing on vitamin A can cause headaches, joint pain, diarrhoea, vomiting, and fatigue.

How will deficiency in Vitamin D affect your oral health?

Vitamin D works with calcium so that bone quality and strength is maintained. If you are deficient in these vitamins then you could end up with brittle bones. In the mouth, vitamin D deficiency could increase your risk of getting jaw fractures and gum disease. If you are deficient in Vitamin D during your early stages in life then the formation of your teeth will be affected. People with kidney disease could also have deficiencies in vitamin D as well.

Here are some sources of vitamin D

  • exposure to sunlight for several minutes twice to thrice a week
  • fish liver oils
  • fortified milk
  • egg yolk
  • cereal


If you take too much vitamin D then you could end up with too much calcium in the blood, excessive urination, and excessive thirst.

How will deficiency in vitamin K affect your oral health?

If you are deficient in vitamin K then your mouth can be affected. Vitamin K is produced by bacteria in your intestines and can also be found in food like

  • leafy green vegetables
  • brussel sprouts
  • broccoli
  • eggs
  • milk
  • beef


If you are deficient in vitamin K then you may end up with liver disease, long-term antibiotics, and several other diseases. Poor diet can be a cause but is not always the one.

Vitamin K helps in making proteins and helps in blood clotting. If you are deficient in vitamin K then you may heal slower than usual. You may also bruise easily. If you have a deficiency in vitamin K then you can have excessive bleeding after tooth extraction. Sometimes you may even have bleeding after normal teeth cleaning.