Vitamin D has the distinction of being the only essential vitamin that your body can produce for itself. All you need is sunshine. This means that everyone should be able to maintain their vitamin D levels, but the truth is that in this country about half of all people in the US have vitamin D deficiency, and that this percentage increases in the winter.
Vitamin D is essential for oral health, and if you want to maintain your teeth and gums this winter, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D.
How Vitamin D Contributes to Oral Health
Vitamin D is vital for the development and health of your teeth. The body needs vitamin D to properly utilize calcium, so if you’re not getting enough vitamin D, you won’t be able to add calcium back to your teeth, significantly increasing your risk of cavities and your need for reconstructive dentistry like fillings and crowns.
Vitamin D is also essential if you’ve had a dental implant placed and your body is growing bone around it. Low vitamin D levels can make it harder for your body to build bone around the implant.
But vitamin D does more for you than just helping your teeth and bones. It can help reduce your risk of gum disease, too. Vitamin D helps stimulate the production of antibacterial compounds in your saliva. This helps reduce the levels of bacteria that you have in your body attacking your gums and teeth.
And vitamin D also helps moderate your body’s immune response. Part of the problem with gum disease is that your body can have an excessive and destructive immune response to the chronic infection, leading to systemic inflammation. Systemic inflammation is one of the mechanisms that links gum disease to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other health problems. And it contributes to the loss of gums and bone around your teeth. By moderating your immune response, vitamin D can help control inflammation and reduce your risk of gum recession.
How to Maintain Vitamin D During Winter
Vitamin D levels naturally drop during winter when the intensity of sunlight drops and we spend less time outside. A tropical vacation would solve the problem–a good dose of sunshine can bump up your vitamin D levels for over a month.
Not everyone can take a tropical vacation midwinter, but if you try, you can keep vitamin D levels up even here in New Jersey. First, make a conscious effort to get sun, even during the winter. Take advantage of sunny days to get outside and try to expose more skin to the sun (though you should stay decent and warm). Try to eat foods high in vitamin D. Foods naturally rich in vitamin D include fatty fish such as tuna and salmon. Beef liver and egg yolks are also naturally high in vitamin D. Many dairy foods and dairy substitutes are fortified with vitamin D.
Finally, you can also take vitamin D supplements if you can’t get vitamin D in other ways.
If you are looking for a River Edge dentist who takes a comprehensive approach to oral health, then please call (201) 343-4044 today for an appointment at the River Edge Dental Center for General & Cosmetic Dentistry.