The truth about Vitamin C

Autumn is coming soon, let’s get some vitamin C tablets! I used to hear this statement every single year when I was growing up. Now I hear the same line, but from patients who also wants to look after their health and “aimed at reducing colds during the winter season” – with the added question: What is the best way to take vitamin C and protect my teeth at the same time? If you wonder about the same, come and read with me to find the answer.

Why vitamin C is important

Vitamin C is a popular and important vitamin, known to play a key role in the maintenance of a healthy immune system, gum and teeth health, collagen production and the reduction of fatigue.

Humans are in a small minority of mammals that can’t produce their own vitamin C; it’s also water soluble and can’t be stored in the body.  This means it must be regularly supplied by the diet.

Your body uses extra vitamin C during times of increased need such as illness or infection. So, unless extra care is taken to increase dietary intake during these times, daily supplies are likely to fall short. This is when supplemental vitamin C may be a useful addition to your diet.

What about Vitamin C supplements?

A powdered vitamin C supplement, gummies, effervescent vitamin C packets and chewing tablets, can contain up to 10 times more vitamin C than orange juice, which can increased dental erosion (loss of the surface of your teeth) . Here I would only recommend Vitamin C capsules as the best supplement in order to give the extra protection to your teeth.

Best sources of vitamin C

  • Citrus fruit – such as oranges and orange juice, kiwis and lemons
  • Raw green peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Backcurrants
  • Broccolli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Potatoes
  • Thyme, parsley
  • Guavas
  • Kale

Few tips to keep your teeth healthy

  • Never suck on lemons, limes, or any highly acidic fruit. Putting these fruits against your teeth for any period is a sure way to soften your teeth.
  • Since vitamin C is water-soluble, you should take it on an empty stomach, likely the first thing in the morning or 30 minutes prior to a meal. If you’ve eaten, wait two hours before taking vitamin C.
  • Use a straw when drinking fruit juices. This keeps it from coming in direct contact with your teeth. Be sure to position the straw towards the back of the mouth and avoid chewing it. Shoving the straw in between your teeth can harm your gums or create spaces between your teeth.
  • Rinse your mouth with water after eating fruit to dilute the acids in your mouth, and wait at least 30 minutes before brushing to give your enamel time to resettle.
  • Keep your teeth strong by brushing with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Eat cheese after your fruit. Cheese helps raise the pH levels in your mouth and increases saliva production, which also aids in neutralizing acids.

Before bringing the curtain down…

Vitamin C levels begin to diminish after food is harvested. The longer produce has been in storage or in transit, the less vitamin C it will contain. So choose fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible! And if it comes down to a choice between out-of-season fresh produce and frozen, take frozen. Out-of-season produce often travels long distances to reach market and therefore loses more of its nutritional value.

Sunrise over the Andes mountain, September 2020 – Chile

El Condor Pasa song by Daniel Alomia Robles.

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