Does Vitamin D Influence Your Dental Health? (2024)

There’s a very common pattern surrounding dental check-ups. Chances are, you were told at your last appointment that you should brush and floss more. If this sounds familiar, don't worry—you're not alone.

Many people don't stick to a low-sugar diet or a strict oral hygiene regimen, and they often report the same experience: Life got busy, they forgot, or they simply couldn't maintain a daily flossing habit.

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7 Tips for Preventing Cavities

While many people will frantically floss or brush before their dental appointment, they know deep down their dentist will likely be able to tell if they keep a regular routine or not. This can be a frustrating situation for both dentist and patient, who will not experience the desired results or the improved dental health that should accompany every dental visit.

But what if dental caries or bleeding gums were controlled by more than just brushing regularly and getting your sugar habit under control? Some people never follow recommendations to brush or cut sugar, and yet they exhibit no dental problems. Meanwhile, there are other people who do brush, floss, and eatwell and still have issues with their teeth.

This may seem like a fluke, but in reality, your diet or nightly dental care routine aren’t the only pieces of the puzzle to achieving great dental health. You should also eat a diet that promotes healthy teeth (and not just a diet low on sugar).

Vitamin D and Dental Health

Teeth have often been thought of asinanimate objects that need to be kept polished and clean—kind of like a porcelain vase that requires constant superficial maintenance. However, unlike porcelain vases, teeth are a living, functioning part of your body. The way the body manages minerals is guided by calcium balance and the immune system, which are both regulated by vitamin D.

Tooth decay and bleeding gums are the two most common measures of your dental health.Tooth decay is the most common chronic condition in kids.Additionally, bleeding gums are the first sign of gum (periodontal) disease—a chronic inflammatory disorder. Studies show that it's not just a sign of your gum health, but also a sign of your guthealth. Therefore, what goes on in other parts of the body can also impact dental health.

Tooth Decay: Vitamin D and the Dental Immune System

Vitamin D plays a key role in promoting dental health and helping prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

Vitamin D is crucial for building healthy bones, as it allows your digestive system to absorb calcium from your diet. Calcium is the raw material that—with phosphorus—creates the bony structure that makes up tooth enamel. Under your enamel is dentin, which contains live cells that the body uses to protect the all-important blood supply and nerve inside your tooth.

Your dentin contains "guardian" cells that sit at the border of your enamel and release immune factors. They can repair damaged dentin, but only if there’s enough vitamin D present. If your vitamin D levels are low, then your defense system doesn’t have the fuel to protect and repair infected teeth.

Bleeding Gums: Vitamin D, Oral Bacteria, and Inflammation

Oral hygiene is also recommended by your dentist to prevent gingivitis, a condition in which the gums are inflamed and bleed.

Gingivitis isn't just a sign of poor dental health; it is also a sign of an inflamed immune system. Your mouth is an extension of your gut microbiome, where the majority of the immune system is primed. Like the gut, the mouth is an area where constant interaction between microbes and your own immune cells takes place.

Further more, vitamin D plays a role in managing the immune system. It helps control how and which immune cells are formed.

Vitamin D Deficiency

Kids who are vitamin D deficienthave shown to be at higher risk of tooth decay. This relationship is relative to both deficiency and insufficiency. The standard test for vitamin D is blood level measurements of 25(OH)D, with a level below 20 ng/ml considered a deficiency.

Although more studies are needed, ensuring that you are getting adequate amounts of vitamin D may lower your risk.

Manage Your Levels

There are simple lifestyle and dietary changes to keep your vitamin D levels up.

Lifestyle

We know that vitamin D is made in the body when sunlight hits the skin. Therefore, getting up to 30 minutes of natural sunlight per day can be a great source. Remember to keep the face and arms exposed, otherwise your body won’t convert vitamin D. Keep in mind that if you have digestive, immune, or liver issues, they can impact your conversion of vitamin D as well.

Diet

Its important that you have one to two servings of vitamin-D-rich foods per day.

Rich sources of vitamin D3 include:

  • Fatty fish
  • Organ meats
  • Eggs
  • Butter, yogurt, and cheese (from pasture raised animals)

Vitamin D Supplements

You may add vitamin D supplements to your regimen, but you should check with a healthcare provider on what supplements to use and if they are necessary. Do not exceed the recommended dosage.

A Word From Verywell

Vitamin D is one of the biggest contributors to your dental health, as it can lower the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. You can manage your vitamin D levels through lifestyle habits and your diet. Remember that eating for healthy teeth is eating for a healthy body. At your next dental or doctor's appointment, make sure to ask about your vitamin D levels.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How does vitamin D deficiency affect your teeth?

    Vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency can affect both tooth enamel and gum health. Low vitamin D levels in children can affect tooth development, causing teeth to be weaker in adulthood and more prone to cavities or chipping. In adults, low vitamin D status can lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease.

  • Does vitamin D deficiency cause yellow teeth?

    Yes, vitamin D deficiency can show up as yellow teeth. Yellow or brown spots on teeth are a symptom of rickets, a condition caused by chronic low levels of vitamin D.

  • How do you treat vitamin D deficiency?

    Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin because your body naturally makes vitamin D when sunlight hits the skin. You can also get vitamin D in your diet by eating fatty fish, organ meats, eggs, and fortified foods such as milk and cereal.

    If these measures do not help bring up your vitamin D levels, your doctor may recommend taking vitamin D supplements.

7 Sources

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Botelho J, Machado V, Proença L, Delgado AS, Mendes JJ. Vitamin d deficiency and oral health: a comprehensive review.Nutrients. 2020;12(5):1471. doi:10.3390/nu12051471

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children's oral health.

  3. Byrd KM, Gulati AS. The “gum–gut” axis in inflammatory bowel diseases: a hypothesis-driven review of associations and advances.Front Immunol. 2021;12:620124. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2021.620124

  4. Woo S-M, Lim H-S, Jeong K-Y, Kim S-M, Kim W-J, Jung J-Y. Vitamin D promotes odontogenic differentiation of human dental pulp cells via ERK activation.Mol Cells. 2015;38(7):604-609. doi:10.14348/molcells.2015.2318

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Periodontal disease.

  6. Chhonkar A, Arya V. Comparison of vitamin d level of children with severe early childhood caries and children with no caries.Int J Clin Pediatr Dent. 2018;11(3):199-204. doi:10.5005/jp-journals-10005-1511

  7. National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin D fact sheet for health professionals.

Does Vitamin D Influence Your Dental Health? (1)

By Steven Lin, DDS
Steven Lin, DDS, is a dentist, TEDx speaker, health educator, and author.

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Does Vitamin D Influence Your Dental Health? (2024)

FAQs

Does Vitamin D Influence Your Dental Health? ›

Because vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, it's essential for healthy teeth and gums. Researchers have linked a vitamin D deficiency to two main oral issues: Tooth Decay. As stated before, vitamin D plays a key role in absorbing and retaining calcium and phosphorous for bone and tooth mineralization.

Does vitamin D make your teeth and bones strong? ›

Vitamin D is necessary for strong bones and muscles. Without Vitamin D, our bodies cannot effectively absorb calcium, which is essential to good bone health.

Does vitamin D remineralize teeth? ›

Vitamin D is essential for remineralization since it plays a key role in absorbing calcium and balancing minerals throughout the body. We recommend 1000 IU or more each day of Vitamin D3. With D3, these vitamins work in sync to improve calcium absorption and distribution.

What vitamin is best for dental health? ›

Vitamin D is essential for strong teeth and bones. It helps to regulate calcium and phosphorus levels in the body, which are essential for the growth and maintenance of teeth and bones. Without enough vitamin D, your body may not be able to absorb enough calcium, leading to weak teeth and bones.

What effect does vitamin D have on periodontal disease? ›

Vitamin D can reduce gingival inflammation and promote wound healing after periodontal surgery by strengthening the antibacterial defense of gingival epithelial cells, which is an important supplement for the prevention of periodontal disease [51].

Can too much vitamin D hurt your teeth? ›

Vitamin D is required for the normal development of teeth and bones. When there is excess vitamin D, systemic and dental changes may occur. This is a case report of a girl who experienced hypercalcemia secondary to excess vitamin D derived from the consumption of milk that was incorrectly fortified.

What does vitamin D do for your teeth? ›

Because vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, it's essential for healthy teeth and gums. Researchers have linked a vitamin D deficiency to two main oral issues: Tooth Decay. As stated before, vitamin D plays a key role in absorbing and retaining calcium and phosphorous for bone and tooth mineralization.

What are the side effects of vitamin D on teeth? ›

Vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency can affect both tooth enamel and gum health. Low vitamin D levels in children can affect tooth development, causing teeth to be weaker in adulthood and more prone to cavities or chipping. In adults, low vitamin D status can lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease.

What mineral reverses tooth decay? ›

Fluoride is a mineral that can prevent tooth decay from progressing. It can even reverse, or stop, early tooth decay.

Can vitamin D deficiency cause receding gums? ›

Vitamin D. A study in Australia found a direct link between vitamin D deficiency and inflammation. Inflammation is the body's way of protecting the tissues when injured or infected (4). Chronic inflammation of the gums results in the inflammation and destruction of bone and ligaments and subsequently gum recession.

How did I heal my receding gums? ›

How Can You Rebuild Your Gums Naturally?
  1. Oil Pulling. Oil pulling is a popular age-long practice for removing plaques and other food particles from the mouth with natural oils. ...
  2. Salt Water. ...
  3. Eucalyptus Oil. ...
  4. Brushing Correctly. ...
  5. Peppermint Essential Oil. ...
  6. Green Tea. ...
  7. Flossing Regularly. ...
  8. Hydrogen Peroxide.

Are vitamin D and D3 the same? ›

There are quite a few differences between vitamin D and vitamin D3, but the main difference between them is that vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that regulates calcium and phosphorous levels in the body, whereas the vitamin D3 is the natural form of vitamin D produced by the body from sunlight.

What vitamin helps restore teeth? ›

Vitamin K helps the body to use calcium to build and maintain strong bones, and is involved in the process of tooth remineralization, which can help to repair damage caused by decay and prevent tooth decay. It works in conjunction with other minerals like calcium and phosphorus to strengthen and rebuild tooth enamel.

Can low vitamin D cause tooth sensitivity? ›

It has been identified that some vitamin deficiencies can lead to sensitive teeth. Apparently, these vitamins include calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. Calcium is a known vitamin that helps build bones. If the body lacks calcium, it will start to extract calcium from the bones and teeth, making them weaker.

Does vitamin D affect tooth movement? ›

Conclusions. The findings of this systematic review support that vitamin D3 local injections might increase the rate of tooth movement via the receptor activator of the nuclear factor-kB/osteoprotegerin axis.

What worsens periodontal disease? ›

For example, patients with conditions that affect the efficiency of the immune system, such as diabetes, HIV, Down syndrome, leukemia, etc., can make periodontal disease worse. Those who smoke, use tobacco products, are malnourished, and/or are highly stressed are also at an increased risk.

Does vitamin D increase bone strength? ›

Vitamin D promotes bone health in these ways: Helps absorb the calcium we get from food. Along with calcium, helps protects older adults from osteoporosis. Promotes healthy functioning of our muscles and immune system.

What vitamin helps build strong bones and teeth? ›

The health and strength of our bones rely on a balanced diet and a steady stream of nutrients — most importantly, calcium and Vitamin D. Calcium is a mineral that people need to build and maintain strong bones and teeth.

What makes your bones and teeth strong? ›

Because they are so crucial, people must keep their bones and teeth as healthy as possible. A healthy diet for bone health should include both calcium and vitamin D, as the calcium helps to strengthen bones and vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium.

Can low vitamin D make your teeth hurt? ›

Dental caries – Better known as cavities, dental caries are painful yet common dental problems—potentially made worse by low vitamin D levels. Aside from leaving you with sore teeth, dental caries may also lead to further infection if left untreated.

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