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Sunshine for your teeth

Many people feel better emotionally when the days are longer. More daylight may also extend the health of people’s teeth and bones.

The body makes vitamin D, sometimes called the sunshine vitamin, from sun exposure. It's as essential as calcium for healthy teeth and bones.

Both vitamin D and calcium counteract deficiencies and reduce bone resorption. "Numerous studies indicate that vitamin D and calcium deficiencies result in bone loss and increased inflammation. Inflammation is a well recognized symptom of periodontal diseases, which is why it has been suggested that calcium and vitamin D deficiency may be a risk factor for periodontal diseases."

 

Periodontal diseases are classified according to the severity of the disease. The two major stages are gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is a milder and reversible form of periodontal disease that only affects the gums. Gingivitis can lead to more serious, destructive forms of periodontal disease called periodontitis.

 

According to the National Institutes of Health, season, geographic latitude, time of day, cloud cover, smog and sunscreen affect ultraviolet ray exposure and vitamin D synthesis. Ten to 15 minutes of sun exposure at least two times per week to the face, arms, hands or back is usually sufficient to provide adequate vitamin D.

 

People who live in an area with limited sun exposure may want to eat foods fortified with vitamin D such as milk, eggs, sardines and tuna fish, researchers say.
 

Vitamin D, which is often obtained from the sun, is essential for a healthy body and strong bones. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium from foods and supplements, muscles need it to move and the immune system needs it to fight bacteria and viruses. Now, new research is linking vitamin D to oral health as well.

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