Having enough vitamin D in your system doesn’t just mean that your bones are protected. In fact, vitamin D plays other vital roles for our health, including reducing inflammation and helping our immune system fight off infections. When it comes to the relationship between vitamin D and our health, vitamin D is also an essential part of our oral health, protecting our teeth and gums from the effects of periodontal disease. Because of how prevalent periodontal disease is, we’re here to explore some of the benefits of vitamin D, why it’s important for your teeth and gums, and how it can help fight off infections that cause periodontal disease and tooth decay.
How Vitamin D Protects Our Teeth and Gums
Vitamin D isn’t necessarily a vitamin but acts as a steroid molecule that our bodies produce from the absorption of light and food. Acting as both a nutrient and prohormone, our bodies work to metabolize and store this vitamin within our bodies, giving us the ability to absorb calcium and maintain a sense of homeostasis, mineralizing our bones, absorbing these minerals into our nerves and muscles, and increasing overall blood calcium throughout our bodies.
However, research has also revealed that vitamin D, because of its protective properties, creates a hostile environment for bacteria such as Streptococcus mutans because of how it assists the immune system in forming antibodies. For those who are at risk of having a vitamin D deficiency, this means that the strains of bacteria can easily infect the teeth and gums. These strains of bacteria can even infect below the gum line and into the jawbone, causing bone decay that can never be replaced naturally.
So, how does Vitamin D actually protect our oral health? According to research from Medicina, vitamin D is essential for our health because of its antibacterial properties, including:
Protective Proteins: Vitamin D helps form proteins known as defensins and cathelicidins. These proteins work to improve white blood cell development within our blood and help enhance our immune system, which works to destroy the integrity of the bacteria cell wall.
Creates Calcitriol: Calcitriol is developed from the complex interactions between our bodies and vitamin D and is considered the active hormone involved in binding vitamin D receptors to our bones and muscles. By maintaining calcium homeostasis, it works to protect our bones and teeth from the effects of periodontal disease-causing bacteria.
Reduces Metalloproteinases: A protein that heavily contributes to periodontal disease progression is metalloproteinases. Vitamin D works to reduce the number of proteins causing this infection and helps eliminate bacteria growth along with our teeth and gums.
Visit Your Dentist For A Dental Checkup Today!
As always, ongoing research is helping us move forward and protect people’s gums and teeth from decay and infection. To best prevent the onset of periodontal disease, we recommend visiting your dentist as a first step. By doing so, you’re not only getting a dental checkup for your health, but you can get the best advice for protecting your teeth and gums for life.