You must get enough vitamin D in your diet. Luckily, our diets often consist of good amounts of vitamin D from our dairy products, fish, red meat, and eggs. However, people who have a vitamin D deficiency can often suffer from numerous ailments, including cardiovascular disease, asthma in children, and even cancer. Vitamin D helps our bodies fortify and use calcium from our diet, which helps strengthen our bones. This is especially vital for our teeth, as our teeth are the most susceptible to decay from their constant use. Poor sunlight exposure, inadequate diets, and old age often contribute to vitamin D deficiency, and with this deficiency, there is also an increased risk of periodontal disease.
The Health Risks of Vitamin D Deficiency
So, how does a lack of vitamin D contribute to periodontal disease? When our teeth falter in protecting us from bacteria, our gums can often suffer as a result. The wear down of enamel over time due to a lack of vitamin D can allow bacteria to easily develop along the gum line, which can infect the gumline with bacteria and cause gum disease. Gum disease, in turn, transforms into periodontal disease, an advanced form of gum disease that causes the gum line to redden, recede, and even infect the jawbone. Combine this with a vitamin deficiency, and it’s a lose-lose scenario without treatment.
However, the only way to truly combat the risk of periodontal disease is to get enough vitamin D. Studies from the American Society for Microbiology cite that vitamin D is capable of combating bacteria and can help lower the risk of periodontal disease altogether for patients with a vitamin D deficiency. Throughout this study, researchers found that:
- Having adequate amounts of vitamin D each day is good for our bones and teeth because vitamin D contains anti-bacterial properties. These anti-bacterial propers help fight off the mutans bacteria strains responsible for periodontal disease.
- These anti-bacterial properties are known as cathelicidins and defensins. They’re proteins that disrupt the integrity of the bacteria cell membrane, serving as a vital part of our immune defense against bacterial infections.
- Vitamin D contains these bacterial anti-agents because of its active form, calcitriol, which is normally made in the kidneys of mammals, helping to increase our blood calcium and strengthen our bones.
- Because of these properties, it can also reduce the enzyme metalloproteinases, known as MMP, and contribute to the development of periodontal disease.
Make Sure To Get Enough Vitamin D Every Day
If you suffer from a vitamin D deficiency, make sure to speak to your physician about getting vitamin D supplements in your diet. Having vitamin D supplements and eating foods containing this vitamin can help protect your bones, teeth, and gums from disease. Getting enough sunlight by exercising will also benefit your ability to get vitamin D. If you need more information, don’t hesitate to call your doctor or dentist to learn more about getting vitamin D in your diet.