Vitamin D and Dental Health
Vitamin D is often considered just another vitamin in our daily routine, but its significance cannot be overstated. In fact, Vitamin D is not actually a vitamin; it is a “prohormone” a substance that is converted by enzymes into an anabolic hormone that stimulates protein synthesis, muscle growth and insulin production. In simple terms, prohormones help fortify and strengthen our bones and teeth.
Unlike other vitamins not naturally produced in the body, Vitamin D can be synthesized from sunlight on the skin or obtained from dairy products, fatty fish like salmon, cheese and egg yolks. When we consider that tooth decay and gum disease are the most common dental issues and have reached epidemic proportions, vitamin D is crucial in preventing these problems because it enables our digestive system to absorb calcium from our diet, thus building healthy bones and teeth.
Vitamin D can help repair dentin, the teeth’s underlying layer, which is important in cases of receding gums. It also plays a role in managing our immune system to prevent gum inflammation. Many people, including children, lack it. National Institutes of Health data shows that approximately 42 percent of the U.S. adult population suffers from vitamin D deficiency. Statistics are even higher for people with darker skin. Almost 63 percent of Hispanic adults and 82 percent of African American adults are vitamin D deficient.
Signs of deficiency include frequent illness or infections, fatigue and tiredness, bone and back pain, depression and slow wound healing. Vitamin D deficiency causes gum inflammation and bone loss, which can significantly impact dental health. Gum disease, for example, is not just a sign of poor dental health, but also of an inflamed immune system. Vitamin D intake and periodontal (gum) health are strongly associated. It is possible to treat vitamin D deficiency with supplements. Based on an individual’s condition, healthcare providers will determine how much, how often and for how long the supplements should be taken.
Vladimir Gashinsky, DDS, is the founder of the Holistic Dental Center, located at 91 Millburn Ave., in Millburn. For more information and appointments, call 973-457-4244 or visit HolisticDentalCenterNJ.com.