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Discovering The Risks Posed To Your Oral Health By Vitamin D Deficiency

A Child Drinking Milk

If you remember anything from the countless dairy commercials you’ve seen throughout your life, you know that it’s essential to get enough Vitamin D. In addition to milk, it’s possible to get this vital nutrient from eggs, fish, red meat, and a variety of vegetables. Not getting enough of this crucial nutrient can lead to any number of health concerns, including asthma, cardiovascular disease, and even gum disease. In addition, Vitamin D plays an important role in strengthening our bones and teeth by helping us make use of the calcium we take in. Inadequate diet, aging, and failing to get enough sunlight can all contribute to a deficiency in Vitamin D and the problems that come with it.


Risks To Your Health From A Vitamin D Deficiency

So what is it about a lack of this nutrient that helps contribute to periodontal disease? When the durable enamel of our teeth fails in its defense, our gums can be the next victim. It also allows the decay of our dentin, leading to an infection of the pulp and potential formation of an abscess, which spells trouble for our oral health. Gingivitis is also just the first stage of gum disease and will eventually turn into the more serious periodontal disease if it’s left untreated. This stage of the disease can lead to receding of the gums, infection, and degradation of the jawbone.


Vitamin D is more than just a way to strengthen bones and teeth, however. It also plays an important role in the defense and healing of our gums against gum disease. The American Society for Microbiology published studies that showed just how important this vitamin is to the defense of our oral health. The results showed:


  • Sufficient quantities of Vitamin D in our diet is important for the protection of our bones and teeth due to its intrinsic antibacterial properties. These properties aid in fending off the mutans bacterial strains that are connected with periodontal disease.
  • The proteins that give Vitamin D its antibacterial properties are defensins and cathelicidins, and their effectiveness comes from their ability to disrupt membrane integrity in the bacteria cell. This aids our immune system in eliminating these threats.
  • Calcitriol is the active state of Vitamin D and is typically made in mammalian kidneys. In both forms, it serves to strengthen our bones and boost calcium levels in our blood.
  • All of these properties also serve to reduce the presence of MMP, or metalloproteinases, in the blood and oral cavity and impede the development of periodontal disease as a result.


Get Your Daily Allotment Of Vitamin D

If you identify that you are experiencing the symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency, then it’s important to take steps to course correct. You can do this by adding dairy to your diet, a vitamin supplement, or just make sure you get enough sun! By enjoying just a few hours a week in the sun with your face and palms exposed, your body can create more than enough Vitamin D to meet your daily needs. Even better, sunlight is known to help uplift our mood and make us feel better all around. Do remember the sunscreen, and schedule a visit to your dentist!

Dr. Karmen Massih Inspired by orthodontics at the age of 10, Dr. Karmen Massih earned her Doctor of Dental Medicine at UCLA's School of Dentistry. After earning her certificates in orthodontics at the University of Pittsburgh, she returned to her hometown of Glendale, CA, to begin Massih Orthodontics, a practice dedicated to transforming smiles for people of all ages.