When our skin is exposed to the sun, our bodies can take the UV rays from the sun and transform them into vitamin D using our cholesterol. This sunshine vitamin makes it an excellent resource for our bodies, allowing us to utilize calcium and fluoride for our bones and teeth. However, despite how much our bodies need vitamin D, at least 41% of people in the US have vitamin D deficiency. Having a vitamin D deficiency can be harmful, leading to a loss of bone density and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment in older adults, and even cancer. On the dental side, it can also increase the risk of tooth loss and periodontal disease. Vitamin D is vital for your oral health, and we’re here to showcase how vital vitamin D is to your oral health.
Vitamin D and How It Helps Our Teeth
Vitamin D doesn’t work like other vitamins. In fact, many scientists often cite many benefits to vitamin D, including:
- Vitamin D operates similarly to a hormone in the way that it utilizes nutrients in our bodies, such as calcium. Vitamin D works with the cholesterol in our system and assists our intestines in absorbing calcium and other nutrients. Calcium is then stored through our bones and teeth, helping to support the bones’ structure and hardiness.
- By utilizing calcium, vitamin D assists our bodies in muscle movement and nerve communication between the brain and other parts of the body. By assisting the muscles, it, in turn, helps the heart and arteries maintain our bloodstream, which in turn assists the muscles and lungs to function properly.
Because of these benefits, vitamin D is an essential component of our bodies. However, because so many people often suffer from a vitamin D deficiency, oral problems are more at risk. Vitamin D is a major part of how our bodies maintain our enamel. Our enamel is the outer layer of our teeth, protecting the inner dentin and pulp from bacteria. If our bodies are unable to use and store calcium, then our enamel can become weaker over time. Because of how heavily we rely on this mineral, our mouths can become more vulnerable to bacteria buildup over time, leading to periodontal disease, bone loss throughout the jawline, and eventually tooth loss.
Luckily, getting enough vitamin D will be able to protect your body from oral diseases. Studies from the American Society for Microbiology previously studied the effects of vitamin D as a protector against bacteria throughout the teeth and gums. Within the study, researchers found that vitamin D contains antibacterial peptides called cathelicidins and defensins, and both works to reduce the number of bacteria by cooperating with the immune system. By extension, it also reduces the streptococcus mutans bacteria strain known to cause cavities and gum disease and reduces the enzyme MMP that contributes to periodontal disease.
Speak To Your Oral Health Provider For More Vitamin D Tips
Vitamin D plays a magnificent role in protecting our teeth, and speaking with your primary care doctor about getting more vitamin D in your diet can greatly help protect your teeth and gums. If you want to understand how to better care for your oral health, visiting your general dentist will be able to give you the tools you need for a healthier smile.