Over the holiday season, your mouth is subjected to serious dangers. There are snacks everywhere, most of them sticky, sugary, or both–making them very bad for your teeth. And then there are the endless parties where there are–again–snacks, plus drinks. Alcohol can be hard on your gums and the acid and sugar in most cocktails makes them even worse. Add to this the meals that go on all day, and your teeth are experiencing much more risk of decay than most of the year.
So it’s important to make sure your teeth are getting everything they need to stand up to the threat of decay, including vitamin D. Vitamin D is the only essential vitamin that your body can produce for itself.
Unfortunately, it needs sunshine to produce it, which means that most Americans have a deficiency of the vitamin, especially in winter. This winter, try to maintain your vitamin D levels so you can keep your teeth healthy.
How Vitamin D Contributes to Oral Health
Vitamin D plays many roles in maintaining oral health. You know that calcium is crucial to the structure of your teeth, but remember that your body can’t properly utilize calcium without vitamin D. So if you want to make sure your teeth are being able to maintain their minerals and reduce the need for fillings, you need to be getting enough vitamin D.
And vitamin D is even more important if you’ve gotten dental implants. Your body needs vitamin D and calcium to rebuild the bone around your implants.
But it’s not just teeth and bones that benefit from vitamin D. Vitamin D helps stimulate the production of antibacterial elements of your saliva. That keeps the level of bacteria in your mouth under control.
Vitamin D also plays an inhibitory role in terms of your immune response. You might not think this is good, but it is–vitamin D helps keep your body from overreacting to infections like gum disease. It’s actually your body’s response as much as the infection that’s the problem in gum disease. Your body’s immune response can lead to systemic inflammation, which probably plays a role in heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disorders, and other body-wide effects of gum disease.
Healthier teeth and gums with lower risk of systemic diseases? Definitely a strong case for more vitamin D. So how can you do the “D” this winter?
How to Maintain Vitamin D During Winter
Because people depend on the sun to make vitamin D, it’s normal for these levels to drop during the winter. But there are lots of ways you can make sure your levels stay high this winter. Of course, if you can, go ahead and take a tropical vacation. Get a lot of sun, and your vitamin D levels will likely stay high for a month or more!
But even if you don’t make it to a beach this winter, try to get some sun. Take advantage of some of the nice days we get here in Houston, even in the winter, and get outside. We understand that “nice” may be a relative term, but if you can spend a couple hours outside at midday with bare arms (and, heck, this winter, maybe bare legs).
In addition, you should try to eat foods high in vitamin D. Fatty fish like tuna and salmon are good sources. Beef liver and egg yolks are naturally rich sources of vitamin D. And don’t forget that many foods are fortified with vitamin D.
Failing everything else, vitamin D supplements can help you maintain your levels through the winter.
If you are looking for a dentist in The Woodlands who can help you maintain good oral health all year round, please call (281) 367-5559 today for an appointment with Scott Young, Purveyor of Fine Dentistry.