When your skin is exposed to sunlight, the body makes vitamin D. In New Hampshire, you probably get plenty of sunshine during the warmer months so your body makes an abundance of the vitamin. But when winter bears down, you are not likely to be outside as much and when you are, you probably bundle up so the sun isn’t able to reach the skin. There are also some foods and supplements that provide your body with the necessary doses. But why would you be concerned about getting enough of the vitamin?
How Vitamin D Affects Your Dental Health
Healthy bones need vitamin D because it helps the body absorb phosphorus and calcium from the foods you eat. Since your teeth are made of bone, when you lack enough vitamin D it can impact the health of your teeth. A deficiency can cause deteriorating gums and teeth. It can also lead to bone abnormalities like osteomalacia (soft bones) and osteoporosis (fragile bones). Your teeth can become weakened when your body doesn’t have enough because the body does not absorb the phosphorus and calcium it needs.
Foods Containing Vitamin D
There are a few foods that contain vitamin D naturally. The yolk of an egg, beef liver, and cheese contain some amounts. The best food source is fatty fish like salmon and tuna. Mushrooms also contain small amounts. You can choose foods that are fortified with the vitamin. These include milk, some cereals, orange juice, and yogurts.
Vitamin D Supplements
Your teeth and gums often provide the first symptoms that you are not getting enough vitamin D. You may develop frequent tooth decay or bleeding gums even though you observe good oral hygiene habits. Many patients with gum or dental diseases also suffer from a deficiency. Of course, there are other symptoms too like tiredness, muscle pain or weakness, and general body aches. A balanced diet and regular exposure to sunlight will keep the levels where they need to be for most people. If you are over 50 years old or are not able to get out into the sunlight much you may benefit from taking supplements. If you are concerned that you are not getting enough, talk to Dr. Mulandi about it at your next exam.
How much should I take?
How much vitamin D you need varies with age. Infants up to one year of age need 400 IU a day. From one year old to 70, you’ll need 600 IU every day. After you turn 70 it is recommended that you take in 800 IU each day. It is always a good idea to discuss it with your physician before taking supplements. It is highly unlikely, but possible to get too much. If you get too much it can cause loss of appetite, weight loss, and frequent urination. Since vitamin D helps you absorb calcium, you can experience an irregular heartbeat. Most people are not going to get too much. The upper limit for everyone over nine years of age is 4000 IU a day. If you eat a healthy diet and take a regular supplement of vitamin D it’s unlikely you will reach these upper limits.
Contact Eastern Slope Dental
Is it time for your routine checkup? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Mulandi today. You can ask him any questions you may have about your oral health including if you are getting adequate amounts of vitamin D to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Call us today!