Zinc can be an important mineral for oral health. Though you may not have heard of using zinc for teeth before, this mineral can provide many benefits for your mouth and smile. From helping to prevent bad breath to supporting tooth enamel, zinc can be a great addition to your oral care routine. Zinc is also available in certain supplements, including teeth & gums vitamins.
Read on to learn more about the benefits of zinc for teeth and how you may include this mineral in a healthy oral care hygiene.
Different benefits that zinc may bring to oral care
1. Helps to prevent bad breath
Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is a common problem that can be caused by a number of factors, including poor oral hygiene, certain foods, dry mouth, and more. However, did you know a zinc deficiency may also contribute to bad breath? A study showed that chlorhexidine mouthwash and lozenges containing zinc gluconate could reduce certain types of bad breath.* Another study showed that zinc ions may have an inhibitory effect on oral malodor.*
2. Support tooth enamel
Tooth enamel is the hard outer layer that can help protect your teeth from decay and damage. Unfortunately, this layer may become weak over time due to acidic foods and drinks, tooth grinding, and other factors.
Zinc plays an important role in the formation of tooth enamel (study). This could indicate that getting enough of this mineral is important to help support strong and healthy teeth.*
3. Helps reduce inflammation in the mouth
Inflammation in the mouth can be painful and uncomfortable, not to mention unsightly. Though there are many different things that can cause inflammation in the mouth (including gingivitis), a study showed that deficiency in zinc is one possible cause as it may possess some anti-inflammatory properties in certain periodontal ligament cells for specific populations (study).*
4. Supports healing after oral surgery
If you've recently had oral surgery (such as a wisdom tooth extraction), getting enough zinc may be useful to contribute to proper healing as zinc might play an important role in the healing process of wounds (study).* In general, zinc may help to promote cell growth and repair, both of which are necessary for healing after surgery.*
5 . Protects against gum disease
Gum disease is an infection of the gums that may lead to serious complications if left untreated. Though there are many different things that can increase your risk of gum disease (including poor oral hygiene), research has shown that a deficiency in zinc might also play a role (study) in certain conditions.*
Food rich in zinc
Zinc is a mineral that is found in food. Some foods that are rich in zinc are beef, lamb, crab, lobster, oysters, and poultry. Zinc is also found in some fortified foods, such as cereal and yogurt.
As always, talk to your doctor before taking any supplements. Get professional advice if you think you might need a zinc supplement or are already taking one to ensure you're not exceeding the amounts you may need.