The D deficiency

News

  Posted by: The Probe      15th April 2020

We all know that a diet rich in vitamins and minerals is important for general health. However, a balanced diet is essential when it comes to maintaining our oral health too. Of course, dietary factors such as sugar, food acidity and other damaging effects are widely known, even among patients, but are they aware that a deficiency in vitamin D could also be causing problems?

A lack of vitamin D can lead to many unpleasant consequences, including some serious conditions such as rickets. In oral health, not enough of this nutrient can result in loose teeth, gum disease, periodontitis and weak teeth prone to fracturing. This is because without vitamin D our bodies find it difficult to absorb phosphate and calcium – two essential minerals that help keep bones and teeth strong.

But where can people source their vitamin D? The vitamin is pretty unique in that our bodies create it in our skin when it is exposed to sunlight. However, while in sunny countries there is a year long supply simply by stepping outside, in the UK the sun isn’t strong enough between the months of October and early March to give us the required amount of UVB radiation, meaning that external sources of vitamin D are essential in order to keep teeth healthy.

Usually going outside for just a few moments a day is enough to give us the required dose of vitamin D in the warmer parts of the year. However, when speaking to patients about this it’s worth considering that a person’s skin tone can impact how long they need to stay out in the sun to create the required amount of the vitamin. Those with darker skin tones will need to stay in the sunlight for longer, for everybody the amount of skin they have on show will affect how much vitamin D they can create while outside.

Vitamin D, thankfully, can be found in a number of everyday food sources. A lot of breakfast cereals are fortified with it, and there is also a supply of the nutrient in eggs, oily fish and red meat. You can also encourage people to take supplements such as multivitamins to top up their vitamin D levels.

If you notice any patients with signs of vitamin D deficiency it’s essential that you give them guidance and dietary advice before it becomes a significant problem. A vitamin deficiency is easily overcome, especially when the damage hasn’t progressed very far, and this advice can save them a lot of painful and extensive dental work in the future.

 

For more information about the BSDHT, please visit www.bsdht.org.uk

call 01788 575050 or email enquiries@bsdht.org.uk


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