After we place your dental implants, it’s up to your body to build bone around the implants. This integrates them into your jawbone so that they can become permanent, functional replacements for your lost teeth.
Your body needs many essential vitamins to repair your bone. Unfortunately, many Americans’ diets are short in these vital nutrients. If you aren’t getting the necessary vitamins, you may need to change your diet to make sure you’re getting enough.
About 45% of Americans don’t get enough vitamin A.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an essential role in bone growth. It’s believed that vitamin A helps the body produce and regulate osteoclasts, cells that break down bone. This may not seem like a good thing, but breaking down old bone is an essential part of the process of building bone. On the other hand, too much vitamin A might harm your bone health. It can stimulate the osteoclasts to break down your bone faster than your body replaces it.
True vitamin A is in beef liver, fortified and unfortified dairy products, and eggs. But if you want to get vitamin A without worrying about harming bone health, get it in the form of beta-carotene, which is a substance that your body can turn into vitamin A if it needs it but doesn’t stimulate osteoclast overaction. You can get beta-carotene from bright orange and red vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes. You can also get it from green leafy vegetables like spinach.
Three forms of vitamin B are involved in bone growth and health: vitamin B6, vitamin B9 (folate), and vitamin B12. Between 40-and 50% of the population doesn’t get enough of these vitamins. In particular, the elderly and vegans are at risk for low vitamin B.
Vitamin B helps control blood plasma levels of homocysteine, associated with bone fracture risk.
Good sources of vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 are animal foods, but if you’re looking for vegan sources, try fortified breakfast cereals and soy milk. Folate, on the other hand, is commonly found in dark green leafy vegetables.
Thanks to the dairy industry, everyone knows vitamin D is good for your bones. Your body needs vitamin D to use calcium for building bones.
Because our bodies produce vitamin D in response to sunlight, the people most at risk for vitamin D deficiency are the elderly, the dark-skinned, and those who don’t get enough sun exposure.
If you’re not getting enough vitamin D, the best thing to do is get more sun. In Southern California, that’s not hard. You can also get it with fatty fish, liver, mushrooms, and cheese in your diet.
However, it’s not recommended that you greatly exceed the recommended daily intake for vitamin D. A 2019 study of people taking megadoses of vitamin D (10-25 times the recommended amount for adults aged 60-70 showed that this might actually reduce the density of your bones. In this relatively small study, people taking the megadoses of vitamin D saw the bone mineral density decline in tested bones. We don’t know that this was a harmful reduction, but it does show that megadoses of vitamin D are not the best way to build your bones.
Vitamin K is vitamin D’s underappreciated partner. It works together with vitamin D to help your body utilize calcium. In addition, research links low levels of vitamin K to osteoporosis. Unfortunately, most people don’t get enough vitamin K to help bone health. There are two forms of vitamin K, K1, and K2. It seems that vitamin K1 might be more valuable for blood clotting while vitamin K2 is more important for bone formation. However, we need more research before we can make that conclusion for sure, and only K1 has a recommended daily intake. The body can partly change vitamin K1 into K2, though we don’t know if this generates enough of it for your health.
You can get Vitamin K1 by eating dark green leafy vegetables and green tea. Vitamin K2 is more common in fermented foods and organ meats like the liver.
Even if you have a naturally healthy diet, you might consider increasing your intake of some of these foods in the recovery period after getting dental implants. This will help your body build the bone around dental implants so you can enjoy the benefits of your new teeth for the rest of your life.
To learn more about dental implants in Beverly Hills, please call (310) 275-5325 for an appointment with an implant dentist at Nicolas Ravon, Periodontal Plastic Surgery.