Why Your Smile Needs Vitamin D

Sadly, approximately half of the adults in the U.S. have some form of periodontal disease and more than 40 percent have a vitamin D deficiency, which increases the likelihood that they will develop cavities and/or suffer tooth loss. If you want to keep your smile shining bright, practice good dental hygiene and make sure you get enough vitamin D.

HOW VITAMIN D AFFECTS THE TEETH

Research indicates that your mouth health can provide a window into your overall health. For this reason, you should never ignore a problem that is affecting your mouth. For example, some of the initial signs of Vitamin D deficiency are bleeding gums and tooth decay.

Consuming foods that are high in vitamin D keeps tooth enamel strong and helps fight the harmful species of bacteria that are responsible for gum disease (i.e., porphyromonas gingivalis) and dental cavities (i.e., streptococcus mutans). In addition, maintaining strong tooth enamel protects the inside of each tooth, preventing the development of cavities (i.e., caries).

THE IMPORTANCE OF VITAMIN D DURING PREGNANCY

The American Academy of Pediatrics published a study that examined how an expectant mother’s vitamin D intake during pregnancy would affect her child’s dental health within his or her first year of development. This study concentrated on a condition referred to as early childhood caries (ECC), or bottle rot. Early childhood caries is characterized by a child under the age of three having at least one missing, filled or decayed tooth.

There were 207 expectant mothers that participated in the study. After examining these mothers, the study finds that the higher vitamin D levels the mother had during her pregnancy, the less likely her child was to develop early childhood caries.

VITAMIN D CAN HELP FIGHT GUM DISEASE

The benefits of vitamin D for bone health have been known for a long time; however, research shows that it may also affect the oral microbes and decrease the inflammation associated with periodontal disease.

TOOTH SENSITIVITY MAY BE DUE TO A VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY

Since the barrier that protects each tooth (i.e., the enamel) consists mostly of phosphate and calcium, vitamin D is extremely important because it increases the body’s ability to absorb these minerals from the foods we eat. If you do not get enough vitamin D, absorbing these minerals can be a challenge. When your body lacks these minerals, your teeth may become sensitive to foods that are sugary or acidic as well as to cold and hot temperatures. To increase your vitamin D intake, consider spending more time in the sun, eating tuna, salmon and fortified dairy.

THE LINK BETWEEN VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY, PERIODONTITIS AND TYPE 2 DIABETES

According to a study published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care, when considered separately, vitamin D deficiency and periodontitis both increased an individual’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Additionally, this study shows that when these factors are combined, the risk is even greater. All 3,000 participants of this study were over 30 years of age: 1,369 participants did not have type 2 diabetes and 1,631 participants did have type 2 diabetes. Each participant was assessed for vitamin D levels, underwent a dental examination and had their fasting glucose and insulin measured.

HOW THE TIME OF YEAR AFFECTS YOUR VITAMIN D LEVEL

Since the ultraviolet B rays (i.e., UVB) from the sun help the body create vitamin D, people tend to develop more cavities during the early spring and late winter months: It is during these months that the days are shorter.

At Smiles by Shields, we keep your smile bright through holistic dentistry. Our goal is to address your dental needs through individualized, holistic treatments in a relaxing environment while supporting your total health. Whether it is time for your dental cleaning or you have a cavity that needs to be filled, contact Smiles by Shields today at 904-731-0777 to schedule an appointment. Our office is located in Jacksonville, Florida. We proudly serve Jacksonville and its surrounding communities.

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