About 92% of adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have had dental caries (tooth decay) in at least one of their permanent teeth. Preventative care can help you protect your teeth from decay so that they last a lifetime. Regular oral hygiene and two professional dental cleanings per year helps protect your teeth. Over the past decade, research has found that increasing your vitamin D intake could also help you prevent tooth decay.

Preventing Tooth Decay in Children

Fun in the sun can be a good thing for your child's teethA recent Japanese study published on April 18, 2015 found that higher vitamin D intake could lower the risk of childhood tooth decay. The study asked 1,210 Japanese mother-child pairs to transcribe the information from their Mother and Child Health Handbooks (called a Boshi Techo) into a self-administered questionnaire. Japanese mothers use Boshi Techo to document their health and nutrition during pregnancy, and all of their child’s medical visits after birth. These booklets have been associated with an increase in public health in Japan.

The mothers answered questions about their diet during pregnancy and their child’s subsequent oral examinations between 36 and 46 months of age, all recorded in the Boshi Techo. Researchers classified children with one or more baby teeth damaged by decay as having dental caries. An analysis of the data showed that the mother’s’ vitamin D intake during pregnancy affected mineralization of the child’s teeth. Children whose mothers had higher vitamin D intake showed fewer cavities than those who did not.

Why Vitamin D?

The Japanese study shows strong evidence that higher vitamin D intake during pregnancy can help prevent dental caries in children. Past studies have also shown a possible link between higher vitamin D levels and lower tooth decay rates. One study even found that people living close to the Equator who receive abundant sunlight are less likely to develop tooth decay. These results suggest that higher vitamin D intake later in life could potentially prevent tooth decay as well.

Vitamin D does not have beneficial antibacterial properties that help you fight tooth decay, so why do people who get more vitamin D often have less dental caries? The answer lies in your tooth enamel.

Your enamel is composed largely of phosphate and calcium, which your body absorbs from the food you eat. Vitamin D helps your teeth and bones take in more calcium and phosphate to make them stronger. This vitamin occurs naturally in fish and fish-liver oils, and some vitamin-enriched milk. If you aren’t getting enough from your food or the sun, taking vitamin supplements could help you prevent tooth decay. Although your body needs vitamin D, it is possible to have too much of it. Talk to your family doctor about finding the right balance of vitamin D for your body.

Fix Your Damaged Teeth with White Fillings

Vitamin D won’t eliminate your risk of developing tooth decay, and can’t stop the problem after it develops. Fortunately, cosmetic and restorative dentistry can stop the decay and protect the remaining tooth from further damage. At Advanced Dentistry of Mohegan Lake, we use tooth colored fillings to fill your cavities to protect the remaining structure of your tooth. The white color of these fillings gives them a natural look, making them nearly undetectable.

Although white fillings can fill most teeth, some holes are just too big for them to effectively cover and protect. Instead, you will receive a custom porcelain crown, carefully color-matched with your surrounding teeth. Just like white fillings, porcelain crowns are durable enough to protect your tooth while masquerading as a natural tooth.

If you would like to learn more about preventing tooth decay or how cosmetic dentistry can help fix your dental caries, please contact Advanced Dentistry of Mohegan Lake today.