Most of us have been told since the time we were very young that brushing our teeth regularly and flossing every day are the most important parts of a good dental hygiene program. While that’s true up to a point, it overlooks the role of vitamin D in good dental health, and the tremendous impact it can have on your teeth and gums. Your teeth are not simply inanimate objects which need to be polished and cleaned to avoid developing cavities and other unpleasant things.
Teeth are actually living, functioning components in your body, and their health is closely associated with taking in the proper level of vitamin D. Minerals throughout your body are managed by the immune system and the balance of calcium present, and both of those are heavily influenced by the presence of vitamin D. Vitamin D and dental health are two closely linked components, with vitamin D playing a key role in helping to prevent gum disease and tooth decay.
Vitamin D’s Impact on the Dental Immune System
Believe it or not, many cultures around the world have had a very low incidence of tooth decay without ever having used a toothbrush. Part of the reason for this is that those cultures include a healthy dose of vitamin D in their daily lives, because vitamin D is absorbed by the body when sunlight touches it. Vitamin D is partly responsible for building healthy bones in your body, but it also allows your digestive system to make good use of the calcium in your diet.
Calcium is the bony material which comprises tooth enamel, and tooth enamel protects the material underneath it, which is known as dentin. The dentin of your tooth has the ability to protect the nerve inside your tooth, as well as the blood supply to it. It also contains Guardian cells which release immune factors that are capable of repairing damaged dentin. However, they can only do that repair work if there are sufficient levels of vitamin D present. When there isn’t enough vitamin D in your body, the defense system in your mouth is unable to protect or repair teeth which have become infected.
Deficiency of Vitamin D
Studies have shown that individuals with a deficiency of vitamin D are at greater risk of developing tooth decay. Children are typically affected more by a vitamin D deficiency, because they tend to have less rigorous oral hygiene. With a weakened oral immune system and inadequate brushing and flossing, children are exposed to the possibility of tooth decay more readily. If you aren’t sure about your child’s level of vitamin D, there’s a standard blood test which can be administered to check that level. The same test would be used for adults, of course, but since the risk is lower among adults, it’s generally not necessary.
Bleeding Gums and Vitamin D
Gingivitis or bleeding gums is often characterized by inflammation of the gums, which is a sign of an inflamed immune system. A great deal of interaction takes place in the mouth between microbes and your immune cells. Since vitamin D plays a major role in maintaining the immune system of your mouth, it stands to reason that an insufficiency of vitamin D could be problematic. It’s no exaggeration to say that vitamin D is a key factor in the determination of which immune cells are formed, as well as how many of them are formed in your mouth.
Managing Your Level of Vitamin D
There are some simple things you can do to help manage your body’s level of vitamin D, thus maintaining good oral health. Firstly, you should try to get 30 minutes of natural sunlight every day, allowing your face and arms to be exposed. You can also include one or two servings of foods which are rich in vitamin D every day. These include eggs, dairy products like yogurt and cheese, and fatty fish.
While these two methods of incorporating vitamin D into your diet are best, you can always include a supplement as well. If you suspect that your vitamin D level is too low, there are plenty of vitamin D supplements available at your local drugstore which you can use. By maintaining a proper level of vitamin D in your body, your oral immune system will be helped immensely, and your overall dental health will probably be much better.
Maintaining Good Dental Health in West Palm Beach, FL
Of course, it will be necessary for you to observe good dental hygiene and good practices to maintain the health of your teeth and gums. If you have questions about the use of Vitamin D to keep your teeth healthy, don’t hesitate to ask Dr. Slavin when you come in for a consultation. Dr. Andrew Slavin will help you stay on track by educating you on the best practices for good dental health, including the use of Vitamin D to keep your teeth healthy.