The ability of vitamin D to reduce the incidence of cavities has been a long standing discussion in the dental community. There seems to be some proof of this according to Science Daily. The extreme damage the sun, a major source of vitamin D, can do is now common knowledge. People spend less time in direct sun and use of sunscreen is more popular than ever. There is also a rise in cavities in children. This could point to exactly how useful vitamin D really is to teeth and oral care. Studies show vitamin D intake can be linked to as much as 50% reduction in tooth decay.
Vitamin D is essential to the body’s ability to absorb calcium and phosphate from the food it takes in. Both calcium and phosphate increase the strength of teeth, and the ability to fight against the harmful bacteria that causes tooth decay and cavities. Vitamin D receptors on the cells of the immune system and in teeth help protect the body from disease and infection. Vitamin D binds itself to the receptors and helps build up antimicrobial proteins the body uses to kill cavity causing bacteria. More research is needed, but vitamin D may also help the dentin and enamel receptors in the teeth.
Sometimes, getting adequate sunlight is an issue. Between work and family issues, it’s possible that there just isn’t enough time to sit in the sun. Depending on where you live, winter and fall seasons also provide little sunlight, even if you have the time. Vitamin D supplements can help. Research from the Boston University Dental School and Tufts University Nutrition Research Center showed that participants who took a vitamin D supplement experienced less cavities and tooth decay than those who took a placebo.
Nothing can replace good oral hygiene, proper brushing and flossing with regular dental visits and cleanings. The full benefits of vitamin D have yet to be discovered, but it does seem to be a definite help.