About one-third of Americans are at risk for low vitamin D levels or are vitamin D deficient, meaning that they do not get enough of this essential vitamin from their diets or safe exposure to sunshine.
A simple blood test reveals whether your vitamin D levels fall within the recommended range of 50 to 125 nanomoles per liter of blood. People who fall just below that, with 30 to 49 nanomoles per liter of blood, are considered at risk of a deficiency.
What does Vitamin D do?
Vitamin D helps your body to absorb calcium for stronger bones and teeth. Your muscles use vitamin D to move and your nerves use it to relay signals throughout your body. Vitamin D also helps the immune system to fight off bacteria and viruses. Low levels of vitamin D have also been correlated with bad moods and depression.
Studies have shown that vitamin D may decrease tooth decay by as much as 50 percent in children. Since vitamin D helps the body fight off bacteria, experts believe it may help the body to fight cavities caused by infections. A combination of healthy vitamin D and calcium levels can help prevent age-related tooth loss.
How can I get more Vitamin D?
You body absorbs or produce vitamin D through safe sun exposure, food, and supplements. A winter climate, limited sun exposure, or use of sunscreen to protect from harmful rays can all decrease your body’s vitamin D production.
Getting your vitamins from food and supplements may be a safer option for those concerned about sun exposure. The following foods are high in vitamin D: fatty fish, milk, egg yolks, and fortified products such as orange juice, yogurt, milk, and breakfast cereals. Minimize your intake of sugary sodas, which can suppress your D levels and lead to tooth decay.
Vitamin D supplements are available at most major pharmacies and grocery stores. The recommended daily allowance for vitamin D in supplement form is 600 international units (IU) for people ages 1 through 70 years. Due to concerns about bone health, adults 70 and older have an RDA of 800 IU.
Do you want to start taking better care of your smile? Contact Dr. John Carson, DDS, to make an appointment for a dental exam and cleaning by calling (520) 514-7203. Dr. Carson helps Tucson patients with their preventative and cosmetic dentistry needs.