You’ve almost certainly heard in general terms that among the benefits of good nutrition are a healthy mouth and healthy teeth. People have told you that avoiding an excess of sugary foods and drinks can support your dental health in much the same way as proper brushing and flossing. But you may not have absorbed a great deal of specific nutritional information related to oral health. For example, you may not know of the crucial role played by Vitamin D. You need to make sure you’re getting it often.
What Does Vitamin D for Your Dental Health?
Your teeth and jawbone (and all your bones) need to go through a process called mineralization. If your teeth aren’t sufficiently mineralized, they’re far more susceptible to cavities and may also lose enamel. Vitamin D is essential for mineralization.
Vitamin D also has anti-inflammatory properties that many researchers believe work against gingivitis and other forms of periodontal (gum) disease.
Finally, Vitamin D helps the teeth and bones absorb essential calcium.
Where Does Someone Get Vitamin D?
Your body manufactures vitamin D when the ultraviolet component of sunlight reaches your skin. Thus you could in theory get enough vitamin D simply from spending a lot of time in the sun. That, however, in addition to being impractical for many of us, might well increase the likelihood of health problems like skin cancer. So it’s probably a better idea for the majority of us to plan to get most of our vitamin D from the foods we eat. (If you’re sure you want to get it all from the sun, at least be prepared to go through a lot of sunscreen.)
The foods in the following list are excellent sources of vitamin D, and the list is long enough that it almost certainly includes foods that will accommodate any dietary requirements you might have.
Maintaining good oral health is important for maintaining your overall health. Your dental health (or lack thereof) has an impact on your heart, your circulatory system, your immune system, and various essential organs. Good dental health can help people suffering from diabetes and other chronic illnesses, and, conversely the bacteria responsible for tooth decay and periodontal disease can spread to other parts of the body and create infection there. So when dentists or doctors talk to you about the importance of getting enough vitamin D, they mean it.