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The Role of Vitamin D In Periodontal Disease Prevention

Woman smiling with a glass of milk

One of the many vitamins and minerals our bodies require to function properly is Vitamin D. It has a central role that it plays in the development of bones and teeth, but its place in oral health doesn’t end there. Vitamin D is prominently available in the form of fortified dairy products and certain fruits and vegetables, but that’s not the easiest way to get it. A little time spent in the sun each day is enough to get you your minimum required amount. Updated studies have shown that Vitamin D is also involved in the health of our gums and in preventing periodontal disease.

How Periodontal Disease and Vitamin D Are Connected

The gum disease called gingivitis is something that most of us will experience at one point in our lives or another. Periodontal disease, the more advanced form, is another matter entirely. This condition only occurs in cases where gingivitis is not properly cared for by regular dental hygiene. Seeing your dentist less than twice a year can also contribute to gingivitis turning into this more serious condition. Periodontal disease poses a serious risk to your oral health and is capable of causing teeth to become loose and fall out, gums to pull away from your teeth, and even cause the jawbone to decay.

Studies from the American Society for Microbiology revealed data that showed the importance of Vitamin D in protecting the teeth and gums. These studies revealed the following information regarding Vitamin D and streptococcus mutans, the bacteria responsible for tooth decay and gum disease:

  • Vitamin D has antibacterial properties and is specifically effective against the mutans strain of bacteria. This makes it an effective protection against periodontal disease.
  • Cathelicidins and defensins can be found in Vitamin D, both properties that have been shown to reduce total bacteria in the mouth.
  • Metalloproteinases, or MMP, are enzymes that have been associated with periodontal disease and are reduced by the presence of Vitamin D.
  • Bones and muscles benefit from Vitamin D’s ability to help rebuild them and to prevent the advance of periodontal disease.

These traits demonstrate that Vitamin D has an essential role to play in our developing and ongoing oral health. Sufficient vitamin D in the bloodstream has also been shown to address periodontal disease-related bacteria found there, reducing the risk of sepsis.

Meeting Your Daily Vitamin D Requirements

Dentists and dietitians alike stress the importance of getting enough Vitamin D in your diet and will commonly suggest dairy products for those able to consume them. Salmon, Shrimp, eggs, and red meat are other sources that may be suggested if dairy products are not an option due to health concerns. Supplements are also available in pill form, though the best way remains to get enough sun time on your skin that your body naturally produces your daily needs. Want to learn more about how to get Vitamin D and how it can protect your oral health? Consult with your dentist.

Dr. Pandya

Dr. Pandya

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