Supplements? Real Food?
What’s Best for Oral Health?

      Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS     Nutritional Periodontist
      June 20, 2016   [printfriendly]

SupplementsOur primal ancestors did not take supplements, and they rarely had gum disease or tooth decay. So, if you are eating a healthy diet (a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet), then what’s up with supplements?:

  • Just hype?
  • Marketing?
  • Overkill?


The answers are:

  • Probably
  • Definitely
  • Sometimes

Real Food 

Let me explain.


The supplement industry in the US is huge – about $37 billion! Obviously, it is in the best interest of those making a living in the dietary supplement business to sell as much stuff as possible. They do so by getting the word out to you and everybody else who can hear and read their propaganda. Supplements are marketed as the next best thing for longevity, energy, sexual prowess, beauty, restful sleep, and the ultimate elixir for most ills. But, it is true that there is good science behind some of this rhetoric.


The science shows that nutrients are critical for overall health as well as oral health. HERE. HERE. HERE. HERE. Also, the science shows that most individuals do not eat healthy foods and are lacking in many ideal levels of some nutrients. HERE. HERE.


The obvious solutions would be to eat those foods that are full of these missing nutrients or to take biologically active supplements to supply the body with what it needs. Interestingly, most nutrients are more effective when consumed in synergy with many various nutrients in real foods rather than when consumed individually in man-made supplements. In addition, it would be easy to overdose on supplements, but it would be very difficult to overdose on nutrient-dense foods.


So, what’s missing in many people’s diets? Some of the nutrients that are deficient include: Vitamins A, D, K2, C; magnesium; iodine: calcium, and zinc. These are critical for dental health as well as overall health.


Here are some healthy food sources to eat that provide these specific and necessary goodies:


Vitamin A

  • Liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Cod liver oil


Vitamin D

  • Sunshine (that makes Vitamin D in your skin)
  • Cod liver oil
  • Fatty fish like sardines, mackerel, and salmon
  • Shellfish like oysters, clams, shrimp, etc.


Vitamin K2

  • Grass fed dairy
  • Poultry liver (especially goose)
  • Natto (fermented soybeans)


Vitamin C

  • Citrus fruit
  • Bell peppers
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Broccoli
  • Berries
  • Tomatoes
  • Papaya
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cantaloupe
  • Kiwi



  • Dark leafy greens (e.g., spinach, Swiss chard)
  • Nuts and seeds (especially pumpkin seeds) that are soaked overnight and then dried to eliminate phytates, which prevent the inherent minerals to be absorbed
  • Fish
  • Avocados
  • Yogurt
  • Bananas
  • Dark chocolate
  • Molasses
  • Figs



  • Seaweed
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Potatoes
  • Cranberries
  • Organic dairy products



  • Sardines and sockeye salmon (canned with bones)
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Leafy greens
  • Broccoli
  • Molasses



  • Seafood such as oysters, scallops, and other shellfish
  • Organ meats such as kidney and liver
  • Red meat such as beef and lamb
  • Pumpkin seeds and other nuts that are soaked overnight and then dried to eliminate phytates, which prevent the inherent minerals to be absorbed


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