As a child, you were probably told by your parents to drink milk for its calcium and Vitamin D benefits.
Or perhaps they wondered can a vitamin D deficiency affect teeth?
In science class, you learnt about fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins and that Vitamin D comes from sunlight.
Luckily for me, I grew up in a tropical country so never had to worry too much about sunlight. But, a lot of people in the Northern hemisphere have to think about Vitamin D and whether they’re deficient or not.
A fair number of people in Europe and North America are deficient in Vitamin D for the most part of the year.
Among others, Vitamin D has two important benefits — strength and maintenance of bones and teeth.
Have you wondered how could vitamin d deficiency affect teeth?
Whether it would lead to cavities, root canal problems or even worse, have them fall off when you’re older?
In this post, we dive deep into the relationship between Vitamin D and dental health, learn from experts how a Vitamin D deficiency affects teeth.
I’ll also recommend what you can do to protect and maintain healthy teeth.
Vitamin D — A Quick Overview
Vitamin D is an important nutrient and contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system, and the strong maintenance of normal muscles, cell division and teeth.
It does this by regulating calcium absorption from your bones and bloodstream to meet your body’s requirements.
Both, Vitamins D and K act as guardians of calcium absorption in your body. Learn more about Vitamin D3 and K2 benefits.
Vitamin D is naturally obtained from sunlight but also found in foods such as egg yolk, oily fish (like salmon, herring, tuna), mushrooms and fortified milk and cereals.
Supplements are also a good source of Vitamin D.
For optimum health and to avoid deficiency it’s recommended to stay on top of your Vitamin D level especially if you live in a place with less sunshine.
Does Vitamin D Deficiency Affect Teeth?
The short and quick answer is Yes, a Vitamin D deficiency affects your teeth.
The outer hard part of your tooth protruding out of your gum is called the crown and is made up of enamel.
Enamel is the outer covering of the crown and is made up of calcium and phosphorus.
Under the enamel is what’s called the Dentin.
Dentin contains the nerve cells and blood vessels that supply the tooth with nutrients to keep it healthy.
The bottom of the enamel contains “Guardian Cells” that protect the delicate Dentin. When there’s a lack of Vitamin D, the defence system doesn’t have enough calcium and phosphorus to protect and repair the Dentin and underlying nerves and blood vessels.
This may result in poor oral health and tooth-related problems down the line.
Asking a Doctor
Dr Marichia Attalla, a top Periodontist from Nassau County (NY) says
“Part of having a healthy mouth is ensuring you receive an adequate amount of vitamin D. When your body is low in vitamin D; it leaves you susceptible to some risks including low mineral bone density and chronic inflammatory diseases, such as periodontal disease, the most common cause of tooth loss in adults.”
In other words, a Vitamin D deficiency does affect teeth and may contribute to Periodontal Disease.
Vitamin D And Bleeding Gums
Sometimes, when your body gets inflamed, you experience bleeding of the gums (also called Gingivitis).
Gingiva is the scientific word for gums, hence the above term.
Although Gingivitis can be attributed to poor dental health, it may also reflect an inflamed immune system.
Your gut microbiome consists of 80% of your immune system and handles your health and wellbeing.
Just like your gut, your mouth is an interaction between immune cells, microbes and bacteria. Vitamin D plays a big role in managing and boosting your immune system.
A lack of Vitamin D contributes to lower immunity which may cause weak and bleeding gums.
Natural Ways To Protect and Strengthen Your Teeth
So, now that you know how a Vitamin D deficiency can affect your teeth, it’s best to also practice good oral hygiene.
Brush twice a day, floss regularly and have routine dental maintenance at least twice a year.
Alongside Vitamin D, some vitamins and minerals to boost oral health include Calcium (from dairy, leafy greens, beans and almonds), Phosphorus (from meat, poultry, fish and eggs) and Vitamin A (from sweet potato, carrots and cantaloupes).
Other Symptoms Of A Vitamin D Deficiency
Now you’re probably wondering what other symptoms can you expect and experience from vitamin d deficiencies?
Some commonly reported and well-researched symptoms include
– Tiredness and fatigue
– Depression and anxiety
– Bone pain and bone loss
– Muscle Pain
– Hair Loss
If you experience one or more of these, it’s best to get a Vitamin levels test and take corrective action.
For some people, symptoms do not show until deficient for a long time (chronic) and then have to take very high strength booster supplements.
Let’s say you did a blood test and found out you’re deficient in Vitamin D, what should you do?
How Long To Correct A Vitamin D Deficiency?
Depending on your Vitamin D level, your doctor or haematologist may put you on a daily supplement booster dose often 10,000 IU (international units), 20,000 IU or even 50,000 IU for a week or so then put you on a maintenance dose.
Maintenance doses are generally around 2000 IU or 4000 IU per day.
Most people see an improvement in their Vitamin D levels after about 3–4 months once they’ve had the booster.
It’s recommended to take a blood test at least every 3 months and make sure your vitamin levels are in the green.
And as with all supplements, only take them if you feel you’re lacking them from meals.
In this article we answered an important question – can a vitamin d deficiency affect teeth, I request you to stay on top of your Vitamin levels and continue to practice good oral hygiene.
Take a blood test to know your levels and stay proactive.
Your body deserves the best and so do you.
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