Vitamin D and Dental Health
Can lack of vitamin D really cause cavities?
Yes! In fact, a lack of vitamin D in general can be the root of many different health problems, including cavities (no pun intended!). More and more research is coming out showing the relationship between proper vitamin D levels and good health in general. For example, just recently, a nine-year-old boy in the UK was discovered to have severely damaged teeth from lack of vitamin D. The dentist thought it was from a poor overall diet, such as too many carbohydrates and too much sugar in general, but when questioned, the boy’s diet seemed fine.
The mother then took it upon herself to research the issue online, ordered a vitamin D testing kit, and when the results were ready weeks later, she was shocked at what she found: his Vitamin D levels were 19 ml/liter, when most experts agree that a healthy level should be no lower than 50. Most people, unless they live in an area that gets plenty of year-round sun and take advantage of that (minus the sunscreen), have insufficient vitamin D levels. If you feel you may be at risk, your family doctor can order a simple test to see if you are deficient, and it is fairly easy to get levels up to normal with a high-quality supplement. See your doctor for more information.
Can vitamin D help prevent gum disease?
Absolutely! Not only is vitamin D essential to helping prevent cavities and keeping bones strong, but it’s also a key player in preventing gum disease. In fact, a recent study by the journal of Infection and Immunity showed that vitamin D stimulated the production of a protein antibiotic called TREM-1 in gingival cells, which prompted the release of anti-inflammatory cytokines. The results of the study proved that gingival cells (those infected with gum disease) treated with vitamin D naturally killed more bacteria. And since bacteria are the primary cause of gum diseases such as periodontitis, a better ability to destroy bacteria would then likely mean a reduced risk of oral health problems, like gum disease. Yet one more reason to make sure your blood levels of vitamin D are in the appropriate range.
For more information on vitamin D, check out the Vitamin D Council‘s excellent website.
If you believe you may have vitamin D-related gum disease or other oral health problems, give Dr. Kotre’s Ann Arbor dental office a call at 734-677-2156 to schedule an appointment for a full exam and patient history so we can help get you on your way to your best, healthiest you!