Vitamin D is essential to a wide range of biological processes, and our best source of the vitamin is sun exposure. You also get vitamin D through the foods you eat and the beverages you drink, such as eggs, meat, and fish, as well as cow’s milk, which tends to be fortified with D3 in the U.S. and other countries.
A recent study published in the journal Nutrition Reviews found a link between vitamin D and preventing cavities. This peer-reviewed research included data from 3,000 children who participated in two dozen clinical trials dating as far back as the 1920s and as recently as the 1980s. It is known that vitamin D is vital to how effectively our bodies absorb calcium, and the data showed that the children who had their vitamin D levels supplemented were 50 percent less prone to tooth decay.
The method of supplementing the nutrient differed from study to study but was often achieved through additional UV exposure or through a dietary supplement, such as cod liver oil. Philippe Hujoel, a doctor and dentist at the University of Washington, oversaw the project and stated that his goal was to encapsulate the existing data and look at it from fresh perspectives.
Fresh perspectives aside, the findings came as no real surprise to most in the dental health profession. As Michael Holick—a doctor and professor at Boston University Medical Center—put it, the study reaffirmed the link between vitamin D and tooth decay prevention. Holick added that vitamin-D-deficient children tend to experience late teeth growth and are at greater risk of cavities.
Another important aspect of the study, according to Hujoel, is that cavities are on the rise as vitamin D levels are dropping not just in the U.S. but in populations throughout the world. Whether that is coincidence or correlation remains unclear. Hujoel added that despite that uncertainty, parents and pregnant women could do no harm in emphasizing vitamin D for themselves and their children but could reap many benefits, good oral health included.
Awareness concerning the importance of vitamin D has been on the rise. One recent study found a correlation between high levels of vitamin D in women and low levels of Alzheimer’s disease in that same group. Related research linked vitamin D deficiencies to dementia, and this link was evident even when adjusting for other risk factors, such as diet, body mass index, and cognitive performance. Furthermore, other research has linked high vitamin D levels to a lower prevalence of cancer and heart disease.
Benefit from the Sunshine Vitamin
You need just 15 minutes of sunlight a day to get your daily requirement of vitamin D. You can also supplement that intake by balancing your diet and emphasizing mouth-healthy nutrients, such as calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorous. Support your oral health with consistent oral hygiene and regular dentist visits. Jeffrey D. Clark, DDS, is a leading dentist who can help you manage your oral health as well as provide you personalized advice and preventative care. Schedule your initial examination with Dr. Clark at Scottsdale Dental Excellence by calling us at 480 585 1853.