Did you now that Vitamin D plays a crucial role in helping us maintain healthy bones and teeth?
Vitamin D, sometimes called the ‘sunshine vitamin’ is a fat-soluble vitamin obtained from food and made by the body when sunlight hits the skin.
Vitamin D is essential for a range of reasons, including:
- Bone development in children and skeletal health in adults
- Calcium and phosphorus absorption and metabolism
- Regulating the immune system
How Does Vitamin D Affect Your Teeth?
Because vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, it’s essential for healthy teeth and gums. Researchers have linked a vitamin D deficiency to two main oral issues:
As stated before, vitamin D plays a key role in absorbing and retaining calcium and phosphorous for bone and tooth mineralization. When your vitamin D levels are unregulated, it weakens your teeth, making you highly susceptible to cavities, fractures, and decay. A study of U.S. adults found that vitamin D levels are significantly associated with the occurrence of dental caries.
Research published in the Journal of Periodontal Research has linked lower vitamin D levels with an increased risk of periodontitis, possibly because of its connection to the immune system. Though it’s not fully understood, vitamin D seems to positively impact inflammation and mineralization effects on the tissue surrounding your teeth.
What happens if you don’t have enough vitamin D?
If your body doesn’t get enough vitamin D, you’re at risk of developing weak bones. Unfortunately, almost a quarter (23%) of all Australian adults live with mild or moderate vitamin D deficiency.
Severe vitamin D deficiencies could have major health ramifications – which makes it important to make sure you’re getting enough each day.
Some people are at greater risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency, including those who:
- Elderly and housebound or in residential care
- Work or stay mostly indoors
- Have naturally dark skin
- Have a condition that restricts vitamin D absorption from the diet
- Are overweight or obese
Since tooth decay and gum disease are two of the most prevalent oral health issues, you might want to check in on your vitamin D levels, fortunately, doctors can diagnose a Vitamin D deficiency by performing a simple blood test.
HOW MUCH VITAMIN D DO WE NEED?
Recommendations for vitamin D intake vary by age and gender and life stage.
For adults, the Adequate Intake (AI) is 5.0 µg /day for men and women aged 19-50.
The adequate intake recommendations set out by the National Health and Medical Research Council are as follows:
|1-3 yr||5.0 µg/day|
|4-8 yr||5.0 µg /day|
|9-13 yr||5.0 µg/day|
|14-18 yr||5.0 µg/day|
|19-30 yr||5.0 µg /day|
|31-50 yr||5.0 µg /day|
|51-70 yr||10.0 µg /day|
|>70 yr||15.0 µg /day|
As long as we are getting sufficient sun exposure, the best source of vitamin D is sunlight.
If you aren’t getting enough sun exposure then food sources become even more important. Some foods provide a lot of vitamin D, while others provide smaller amounts. Some of the top food sources of vitamin D include:
Some milk, soy milks, cheese, yoghurt and breakfast cereals may also be fortified with vitamin D.
Vitamin D is critical for bone, tooth, and gum health. Between sunlight, food, and supplements, you can get the vitamin D you need for a strong and healthy smile.