A tall frothy glass of milk, plenty of yogurt, and plenty of cheese have been the cornerstone of a diet high in Vitamin D. Most of us have been told how important it is to ensure we get plenty of this vitamin to guarantee that we have strong bones and teeth. Little did we know that getting enough of this vital nutrient was also guaranteeing that our gums would remain healthy and free from disease. Recent studies exploring the role of vitamins and nutrients play in our oral health have revealed just how central this dairy-based vitamin is in ensuring our smile stays looking good for a lifetime.
Vitamin D and Periodontal Disease Are Linked Closer Than We Imagined
Gingivitis is an unfortunate truth in the lives of almost everyone at some point in their lives. The tenderness, swelling, and bleeding that comes with it is something we’ve all experienced on occasion, but it’s usually no big deal. If it isn’t treated promptly and thoroughly, however, it can develop into periodontitis, a much more serious concern. Periodontal disease at its worst can lead to receding gums, root decay, abscesses, and the ultimate breakdown of the bone in the jaw.
The American Society for Microbiology published a collection of studies that revealed how the S. mutans bacteria behave in dental patients who get sufficient vitamin D in their diet. The results uncovered some previously unknown facts about how this nutrient serves to promote gum health and fight periodontal disease.
- Periodontitis and tooth decay can both be connected directly to the activity of the mutans bacteria. Vitamin D has demonstrated antibacterial properties that are particularly effective against the mutans strain.
- Cathelicidins and defensins, present in Vitamin D, were shown to limit the growth of mutans and the advance of gingival disease as a result.
- A special enzyme known as metalloproteinases, shortened to MMP, is involved in the damage caused by periodontal disease. Vitamin D has been shown to prevent it from doing its damage when the nutrient is available in sufficient amounts.
- When damage occurs to the gums as the result of periodontitis, Vitamin D was shown to aid in the recovery from that damage.
What this means is that, overall these years, Vitamin D has been working hard to protect our teeth in ways we never suspected. It was even shown that when Vitamin D is in the bloodstream at high enough levels, it can eliminate the bacteria responsible in the bloodstream.
Getting Enough Vitamin D To Promote Good Oral Health
You have multiple options that you can use to get enough Vitamin D to promote gum health. Red meat, salmon, eggs, and shrimp are all great sources of this vital nutrient, but they aren’t the easiest way to get enough. You can simply spend a few hours enjoying the sun every week, and your body will naturally generate enough Vitamin D to meet your body’s needs. Want to know more? Prepare for a visit to your dentist and schedule a consultation.