When you give your family cereal for breakfast, you’re providing them with the essential nutrients they need to face the day, and that includes vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient often found in animal products such as meat, eggs, fish, and milk. Because our bodies cannot produce vitamin B12 naturally, we have to get this nutrient and other vitamins and minerals from our foods. For children especially, vitamin B12 is a vital aspect of their growth, affecting their brain development and function, memory, attention, and metabolism. However, vitamin B12 is also an excellent nutrient for our teeth and gums. Having an inadequate amount of vitamin B12 can have drastic consequences, and today, we’ll be exploring the benefits of this powerful nutrient and give you an inside look into how it protects your oral health.
How Vitamin B12 Benefits Your Child’s Teeth
Among the various vitamins and minerals your child needs to grow, vitamin B12 remains one of the most essential and important nutrients because of its effects on the body’s red blood cell production and helps promote growth. Because it assists in red cell production, it also assists in wound healing and metabolizing sugars. While studies looking into these benefits remain unclear about how these two aspects connect, vitamin B12 still plays a vital role in your child’s oral health. With a vitamin B12 deficiency, your child can face numerous health problems beyond the effects of their teeth and gums, including:
- Dental Cavities: Vitamin B12 assists in the metabolism of sugars, and because of this fact, children with a lower level of this vitamin can face an increased risk of cavities.
- Gum Disease: Children with a vitamin B12 deficiency are often at risk of developing periodontal disease later on in their life, according to various studies. Within these studies, low levels of vitamin B12 are more likely to have periodontal disease than those who have high levels of vitamin B12.
- Depression & Brain Health: Vitamin B12 also plays a role in serotonin production, increasing the risk of depression in children and young adults. For brain development, it is an essential nutrient for the neurons, preventing the onset of dementia and memory loss in older adults.
- Macular Degeneration: Vitamin B12, due to its intricate connection with red blood cells, also makes it a vital nutrient for preventing age-related macular degeneration. Having sufficient amounts of vitamin B12 can help prevent the onset of this condition later on in life.
How To Prevent a Vitamin B12 Deficiency
One great way to prevent the possibility of a vitamin B12 deficiency is to eat a well-balanced diet. Eating a healthy diet matters for your child’s teeth and gums, and one way to improve your child’s diet is to limit the number of carbohydrates and sugars they consume daily. Having less sugar overall has many benefits, but for their teeth and gums, it removes the risk of vitamin deficiencies and helps prevent the onset of cavities throughout their life. For more information about how to help improve your child’s oral health, the best place for learning more is through your family dentist!