Tooth Development - Nutrition and Tooth Development

Nutrition and Tooth Development

As in other aspects of human growth and development, nutrition has an effect on the developing tooth. Essential nutrients for a healthy tooth include calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, C, and D. Calcium and phosphorus are needed to properly form the hydroxyapatite crystals, and their levels in the blood are maintained by Vitamin D. Vitamin A is necessary for the formation of keratin, as Vitamin C is for collagen. Fluoride is incorporated into the hydroxyapatite crystal of a developing tooth and makes it more resistant to demineralization and subsequent decay.

Deficiencies of these nutrients can have a wide range of effects on tooth development. In situations where calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D are deficient, the hard structures of a tooth may be less mineralized. A lack of vitamin A can cause a reduction in the amount of enamel formation. Fluoride deficiency causes increased demineralization when the tooth is exposed to an acidic environment, and also delays remineralization. Furthermore, an excess of fluoride while a tooth is in development can lead to a condition known as fluorosis.

Celiac disease can cause dental enamel defects in children.

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