Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Will Taking Vitamin D Prevent Tooth Decay?



Apparently YES, according to a new study.

A new review of existing studies points toward a potential role for vitamin D in helping to prevent dental caries, or tooth decay.

The review, published in the December issue of Nutrition Reviews, encompassed 24 controlled clinical trials, spanning the 1920s to the 1980s, on approximately 3,000 children in several countries. These trials showed that vitamin D was associated with an approximately 50 percent reduction in the incidence of tooth decay.

"My main goal was to summarize the clinical trial database so that we could take a fresh look at this vitamin D question," said Dr. Philippe Hujoel of the University of Washington, who conducted the review.

While vitamin D's role in supporting bone health has not been disputed, significant disagreement has historically existed over its role in preventing caries, Hujoel noted. The American Medical Association and the U.S. National Research Council concluded around 1950 that vitamin D was beneficial in managing dental caries. The American Dental Association said otherwise -- based on the same evidence. In 1989, the National Research Council, despite new evidence supporting vitamin D's caries-fighting benefits, called the issue "unresolved."

Hujoel's findings come as no surprise to researchers familiar with past vitamin D studies. According to Dr. Michael Hollick, professor of medicine at the Boston University Medical Center, "the findings from the University of Washington reaffirm the importance of vitamin D for dental health." He said that "children who are vitamin D deficient have poor and delayed teeth eruption and are prone to dental caries."

The vitamin D question takes on greater importance in the light of current public health trends. Vitamin D levels in many populations are decreasing while dental caries levels in young children are increasing.

"Whether this is more than just a coincidence is open to debate," Hujoel said. "In the meantime, pregnant women or young mothers can do little harm by realizing that vitamin D is essential to their offspring's health. Vitamin D does lead to teeth and bones that are better mineralized."

I take vitamin D daily for other health reasons, but in light of this information, I recommend parents to discuss the matter with their child's dentist and physician.

Reducing and preventing tooth decay by taking a vitamin is a worthy finding.

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