Did you know that your daily vitamin has benefits beyond your body – your smile needs vitamins and minerals to be healthy too. Every vitamin is equally important. However, vitamin D is especially important for your oral health as it aids in the absorption of phosphorus and calcium, which help rebuild your teeth from the inside.
This vitamin is incredibly important to your health? It is the number one measure used by dentists to gauge the health of their patients.
If you have a vitamin D deficiency, it is thought to increase your risk of tooth decay, bone pain, and gum disease. This holds good for most patients. In fact, every patient who has dental disease also has vitamin deficiency.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends an average daily intake of 400 IU to 600 IU to 800 IU (international units iu) daily. Individuals who were vitamin D deficient needed 4,000 IU to reach the required blood levels.
Unfortunately, more than 10 percent of the population are deficient in this essential nutrient, and this is causing problems for their oral and overall health. Vitamins are very critical, and hence we take a deep dive to know more on the topic.
Vitamin D and Your Dental Health
Human teeth have been thought of as inanimate objects that need to be kept clean and polished – quite like a porcelain vase that requires constant maintenance. However, unlike vases, your teeth are living, functioning and form an integral part of your body.
The way your body manages minerals is primarily guided by calcium balance and your very own immune system. Both of which are regulated by this vitamin. Thus, we see this vitamin plays a very important role in maintaining healthy dental health.
Bleeding gums and tooth decay are the two most common measures of your dental health. Tooth decay and the cavity is the most common chronic condition in kids and even older adults.
Additionally, bleeding gums are the first sign of periodontal or gum disease – a chronic inflammatory disorder. Studies have shown that gum disease is a sign of your gum health and a symbol of your gut health. Therefore, what goes on in other parts of the body can also impact dental health.
The major problem is that people are not aware of how vital this vitamin is for their dental health. This becomes a more significant issue because this vitamin is a fundamental substance for your entire body. If you have not had your vitamin tested recently, it is highly recommended you check your vitamin D blood levels regularly.
Vitamin D Definition
You might be knowing that one of the essential minerals the human body needs is calcium. It not only makes up and fortifies your bones and teeth but is an important chemical necessary ingredient needed to facilitate every muscle movement.
Without calcium, your body will not be able to function properly. The vitamin is vital because it is the substance that can “mine” the calcium out of the foods that you eat.
There are primarily two ways your body can absorb this vitamin. Firstly, by exposing yourself to the sunlight. By absorbing UV rays from the sun, our bodies actually make this vitamin-D. However, we still need to absorb vitamins through the foods we eat daily. You must eat vitamin D foods daily to reach the recommended level. Vitamin-D is also found in pill form, and you can take it in the form of supplements.
Vitamin-rich food includes dairy products, mushrooms, fatty fishes like tuna, salmon, and egg yolks. It is important to talk with your dentist about your vitamin levels. In case they are low, it is important to boost them as soon as possible. You can take a vitamin supplement. That is how you can easily reach your recommended levels per day.
However, you can also increase your vitamin-D levels by spending some time in the sun without sunscreen every day. Else you can also eat foods rich in nutrients.
Fatty fishes, like tuna, salmon, mackerel, and sardines, can pack a punch of vitamin-D. Also daily products like eggs, milk, cheeses, and even mushrooms are also a source of vitamin. You will also find beverages, juices, and other products like bread fortified with the vitamin. The vitamin is so important to development, growth, and human function.
Why Need Vitamin D?
Could you ever imagine that a vitamin D status could be a huge indicator of your overall health? The good news is – you can get more vitamin-D relatively cheaply and easily? So the question is how?
Interestingly vitamin-D and calcium absorption go hand-in-hand in your body. You probably know that vitamin-D is important for healthy bones and also prevents osteoporosis and rickets. This was the sole reason why fortifying milk came into the market in 1932.
Without adequate vitamin-D levels, your body will only absorb 10-15% of the calcium you consume as part of your diet. However, there are many researchers ongoing – that vitamin-D is powerful for your health in numerous ways.
Many say vitamin-D is not a vitamin at all. In short, it is more accurate to imagine that vitamin-D is a hormone than a vitamin. Remember your vitamin-D status is an indicator of your overall health. Every system in the human body is closely linked to vitamin-D. A major responsibility of vitamin-D is to improve your intestinal absorption of important nutrients, mainly calcium.
Vitamin-D is more than a benefit for your bone health. It also impacts heart health, immune system responses, hormone regulation, protects against skin cancer, and even brain cell growth.
Did you know that Vitamin D is an important nutrient that might also have benefits for weight loss. As this vitamin is a fat-soluble vitamin that you can get from food rich in this vitamin. Your body is also able to make it through sun exposure.
Out of 30,000 genes in your body, vitamin D impacts about 3,000 of them. This makes the vitamin incredibly important to your epigenetics – the process related to gene expression. Even the nerves in your body need vitamin-D to carry messages between the brain and other parts of your body.
Tooth Decay: Vitamin D and the Dental Immune System
This vitamin plays a vital role in preventing tooth decay and gum disease. Moreover, it helps promote dental health as well. Hence regular intake of the vitamin helps emanate the deficiency.
The vitamin is crucial because it will help to build healthy bones as the vitamin will allow your digestive system to absorb calcium from the food you eat. The raw material calcium together with phosphorus to creates the bony structure that makes up your tooth enamel. The top part of your tooth is called the crown (made of enamel). Enamel is the hardest substance in your body, made up of calcium phosphate.
Below your enamel is dentin, which contains live cells that your body uses to protect the all-important nerves and blood supply inside your tooth. The supporting dentin is not as hard as the enamel, which is actually mineralized tissue. Within the dentin is the pulp of the tooth, which contains the nerves and blood vessels for the tooth.
Interestingly, your dentin contains so-called “guardian” cells that sit at the border of your enamel and release immune factors. These cells can repair damaged dentin, but it is only possible if enough vitamin is present. Meaning if your vitamin-D levels are low and you have a deficiency – then your defense system will not have the fuel to protect and repair your infected teeth.
Bleeding Gums: Vitamin, Oral Bacteria, and Inflammation
Your dentist always recommends oral hygiene to prevent gingivitis. It is a condition in which your gums are inflamed, painful, and bleed.
Gingivitis is not just a sign of poor dental health, but it is also a serious sign of an inflamed immune system. Remember, your mouth is an extension of your gut microbiome – where most of the immune system is available. Like your gut, your mouth is an area where constant interaction between your own immune cells and microbes occurs.
Furthermore, this vitamin plays a crucial role in managing the immune system. It actively helps control how and which immune cells are formed.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Kids or even adults who are vitamin-d deficient have shown to be at higher risk of tooth decay than others whose levels are normal.
This relationship is linked to both insufficiency and deficiency. The standard test for vitamin is blood level measurements of 25(OH)D. Meaning if you have a level below 20 ng/ml, it is considered a deficiency. Although many more studies are needed to ensure that getting adequate amounts of this vitamin might lower your risk.
However, some researchers suggest that high doses of 1,000–4,000 IU (25–100 micrograms) is needed to maintain optimal blood levels. Most doctors follow this standard as a part of their medical advice.
There are basically two forms of vitamin D you can consume or produce internally after sun exposure. These are vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. The label of vitamin refers to both vitamins D2 and D3. The significant difference between these two vitamins is that Vitamin D3 is twice or thrice more potent than D2 and easier for your body to use.
Vitamin D is indeed one of the biggest contributors to your dental health. As discussed above, it can lower the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. You can manage your vitamin levels through lifestyle habits and your diet. You need to note that eating for healthy teeth is eating for a healthy body. At your next dental appointment, make sure to ask about your vitamin levels.