We all know brushing twice and flossing regularly is key to keeping your teeth healthy. There is a number of reasons that may affect your oral health besides brushing and flossing. Staying away from caries and bleeding gums can not only be warded off by maintaining regular hygiene. Many people never follow recommendations to brush and cut sugar, yet exhibit no dental problems. Meanwhile, there are also people who do brush, floss, and eat well and still have issues with their teeth.
While this may seem unfair reality is there are some other pieces of the puzzle you are missing to great oral health. Eating a diet for healthy teeth is what you need to add to get a clean dental check up next time you visit your dentist. Out of the number of nutrients contributing to the better health of teeth, vitamin-D is of prime importance. The way our body manages minerals is guided by calcium balance and the immune system, which are both balanced by vitamin D.
Vitamin D and Oral Health
Two of the most common oral diseases are
- Tooth decay
- Bleeding gums
Tooth decay is most common in kids and leads to blackening and decaying of an effected tooth. Whereas bleeding gums are noticed as the first sign of gum disease. When cleaning and polishing your teeth is not working it’s time to look for some deep-rooted cause of your oral health issues. Vitamin D plays a vital role in preventing tooth decay and bleeding gums.
Vitamin D and Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is not necessarily a result of poor oral hygiene. Vitamin D deficiency can cause tooth decay because of its effects on the dental immune system. Vitamin D is crucial for building healthy bones, as it allows your digestive system to absorb calcium from your diet. Calcium is the raw material that—with phosphorus—creates the bony structure that makes up tooth enamel. Under your enamel is the dentin. Dentin contains live cells that the body uses to protect the blood supply and nerve inside your tooth.
Your dentin contains ‘guardian’ cells that sit at the border of your enamel and release immune factors. They can repair if dentin is damaged but they cannot function in vitamin D deficient circumstances. When your vitamin D levels are low your defense system cannot protect and repair the infected tooth.
Vitamin D and Bleeding Gums
Your mouth is an extension of your gut microbiome where 80 percent of the immune system is primed. Bleeding and inflammation of gums do not only requires more efforts towards hygiene it also indicates trouble in the immune system. Vitamin D is a key factor in regulating the immune system to the production of required cells.
Manage Your Vitamin D Levels
There are a simple lifestyle and dietary changes to keep your vitamin D levels up:
Lifestyle: Get 30 minutes of natural sunlight per day.
- Remember to keep face and arms exposed, otherwise, your body won’t convert Vitamin D
- Geography: Above 37 degrees latitude, sunlight won’t convert to vitamin D in the skin
- If you have digestive, immune or liver issues, it will impact your conversion of vitamin D
Diet: Have 1-2 servings of vitamin D rich foods per day
Foods that strengthen teeth need to supply a rich source of dietary vitamin D3. These include:
- Fatty fish
- Organ meats
- Butter, yogurt, cheese (from pasture-raised animals)
Supplement: I always recommend diet as the long-term way to manage vitamin D, if you are deficient (below 25ng/ml) you should consult with your health care professional regarding supplementation. Remember that D3 should always be taken alongside adequate vitamin K2.
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