What are the oral health
benefits of vitamin D?
Vitamin D is very important for your teeth as it increases the amount of calcium and phosphate you are able to absorb from the food you eat. The enamel (the outside covering of your tooth) is the hardest and most mineralized substance in the human body, which contains mostly calcium and phosphate.
So, what role does vitamin D play in our oral health? The benefits might surprise you. Here we will cover these important topics:
- What are vitamin D receptors, where can they be found, and what does vitamin D actually do?
- What does research say about cavities and vitamin D?
- The connection between vitamin D and oral health, simplified.
By increasing the amount of calcium and phosphate our body is able to absorb we can improve the strength of our teeth as well as our teeth’s ability to fight demineralization from acid produced by bacteria. This same acid and bacteria is responsible for the development of cavities in our mouths. Your teeth’s natural resistance to bacteria that cause demineralization is improved by increasing absorption of calcium and phosphate. The calcium and phosphate give strength to our enamel, so by getting enough vitamin D we are able to keep our enamel healthy and strong.
In our bodies, Vitamin D receptors are located in the immune system and in teeth. It works to bind to these receptors for this important vitamin. By binding to the receptors we are able to increase the amount of good antimicrobial proteins in our bodies. This in turn helps to combat the bacteria that cause dental cavities. In addition to this benefit, the cells in the teeth called odontoblasts that form dentin and enamel contain vitamin D receptors, meaning that this vitamin may play a role in their functioning. Simply put, this vitamin may also help us form dentin and enamel in our teeth’s developmental process if it consumed during the correct time period.
What does the research say about cavities and Vitamin D?
Some research has shown that winter and early spring seem to be the most common times for cavities. These seasons are also when the levels of vitamin D in a person are most likely to be the lowest. Those who live closest to the equator with the most sun exposure are less likely to develop cavities in some studies. Making cavities related to both geographic location and sun exposure. In some children with Early Childhood Caries, mothers were commonly found to have lower levels of vitamin D during pregnancy vs mothers whose children did not have ECC. In a 2013 review from the US it was found that supplementation of the D vitamin could result in a 47% reduced rate of dental caries in children below 13 years of age. However vitamin D supplementation in those older than 13 years old had no significant effect , especially in girls. .
One of the most common topics studies with Vitamin D and cavity or dental caries connections relates to early childhood caries. On average, children with Early Childhood Caries are found to have lower levels of this particular vitamin than children who live a healthy lifestyle. Mothers of children who presented with Early Childhood Caries also were found to have lower than average vitamin D levels during pregnancy in some studies. Some studies found that if a mother was supplemented with Vitamin D while pregnant it was able to reduce the amount of enamel defects in their children. By reducing the rate of defects they are also able to reduce the risk of dental cavities in children. Studies also that focused on general supplementation of vitamin D also concluded that it is effectively able to prevent cavity development.
Consumption of this important nutrient, vitamin D, is unlikely to cause harm as long as you take 10,000 IU per day. It is not fully understood if supplementation can help treat or prevent cavities in other age ranges, but if you have dental caries the supplementation cannot hurt as long as you do not exceed the daily maximum. The benefits of taking this vitamin should NOT be taken in place of getting your cavities fixed, or instead of normal medication you take from your doctor’s office.
Your Lincoln Family Dentist would be happy to talk with you about supplements for your oral cavity health. And it is always advisable to check with your general doctor to make sure extra vitamin D will not impact any medications you are currently taking.
Summary of the connections of Vitamin D and our dental health
- There is a definite link between Vitamin D consumption and dental caries.
- It has been found that supplementation of this vitamin can reduce the rate of cavity development.
- Mothers who have low vitamin D levels are more likely to give birth to children who will develop cavities later on in life or have the condition of early childhood caries.
- Children with early childhood caries were found to have lower vitamin D levels then healthy children
Wishing you health and happiness,
Dr. Jodi Day
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