Does your dentist test for vitamin D deficiency?
Why am I asking this? You probably know that good oral hygiene and regular checkups can keep your mouth healthy, preventing bad breath, cavities, and gum disease.
Healthy mouth - healthy body
But did you know that a healthy mouth also leads to a healthy body?
Similarly, an unhealthy mouth can not only lead to bad breath, but also increase your risk of serious health problems.
Many of us have heard about the importance of calcium in building strong teeth and bones since childhood.
The key role of vitamin D
But there is another vitamin that plays a fundamental role in our intimately linked oral and physical health: vitamin D.
Vitamin D is getting the media attention it deserves as studies are published showing the myriad benefits your body can experience when your vitamin D levels are adequate.
Vitamin D has been shown to:
- improve brain function
- Help people lose weight.
- Lower caries rates
- neutralize periodontitis
- Relief of symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
- improve kidney function
One important link I have found in my patients is weight and vitamin D levels. If I have a patient who is overweight with gum disease, I always recommend a vitamin D test.
Obesity and periodontitis have reached epidemic proportions in the United States;more than a third of Americans are obesemihalf of American adultssuffers from gum disease. Vitamin D deficiency testing can play a crucial role in addressing these public health crises.
Vitamin D and Weight Loss and the Mouth-Body Connection
Let's take a look at how oral health relates to our overall health, and the role vitamin D can play in that.
Think gum disease (also known as periodontitis), which has implications beyond poor oral health.
What causes gum disease?
Our mouth contains bacteria, and to get rid of these bacteria, your immune system releases substances that cause inflammation.
- Bacteria play an essential role in the mouth, controlling digestion, tooth mineralization and gum health.
- The gums are a vascular network that sends information to the immune system. For example, your body's response to gum disease can send a signal to the immune system and trigger other inflammatory conditions.
- When you're healthy, your bacteria and your immune system must work hand in hand. The bacteria in your mouth help your immune system identify potential bad guys so it can be eliminated before they cause problems (this is similar to how your gut reacts).
- When the immune system overreacts to its microbial environment, it creates inflammation. If this persists (a dysfunctional immune system and bacterial dysbiosis), there will be chronic inflammation and damage to the tissue that supports the gums and teeth.
This can lead to inflammation of the gums, bleeding and gingivitis (the initial stage of periodontitis). If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, which means "inflammation around the tooth."
This is a condition in which the inflamed gum tissue separates from the tooth and creates a space between the tooth and the gum. Without treatment, the bones, gums, and tissues that support the teeth are destroyed, which can lead to tooth loss.
This is a very painful process, so early signs of gum disease, such as bleeding gums, should be taken very seriously.
Periodontal disease can be associated with a variety of other health problems, such as:
- respiratory disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Coronary heart disease, stroke
- Premature babies and even low birth weight babies
periodontal disease and obesity
You may be surprised to learn that researchers also believe in the possibility that periodontal disease can cause this.contributefor the development of obesity.
Studies have foundmajor clubsbetween periodontal health, vitamin D and calcium. In fact, researchers have found that vitamin D acts as an anti-inflammatory and can help with weight loss.
On the other hand, dental caries in children can contribute to unhealthy low weight. Studies have also shown that dental caries (also known as tooth decay) can affect the growth and well-being of children. Children with severe caries weighed less than those without caries. Treatment of decayed teeth led to faster weight gain and improved quality of life for children.
linked studiesVitamin D and less cavities, indicating a potential role for vitamin D in the prevention of dental caries.
In general, there is an underlying association between chronic inflammation, periodontitis, and obesity. These are all symptoms of an irritated immune system, which low vitamin D levels can exacerbate. Vitamin D promotes a tolerant immune system and combats all of these problems.
So make sure you are getting enough vitamin D!
Weight Loss and Vitamin D: 2 Important Studies
an italian studysuggests that taking a vitamin D supplement may help those who are already deficient.
In this study, 400 overweight and obese people with vitamin D deficiency started on a low-calorie diet and were divided into three groups.
The first group did not take vitamin D supplements. The second and third groups consumed 25,000 International Units (IU) and 100,000 IU of vitamin D, respectively.
After six months, the participants in the groups that took vitamin D supplements had greater weight loss and smaller waistlines than those who did not take the supplements.
in another study, 218 overweight and obese women were placed on a calorie-restricted diet and exercise routine and followed for one year. Half of the women received a vitamin D supplement. The other half received a placebo.
At the end of the study, the researchers found that the women who received the vitamin D supplement lost more weight than the women who received insufficient amounts.
Vitamin D can help with weight loss by changing the way fat cells are stored and formed, and by increasing serotonin and testosterone levels.
Vitamin D has far-reaching effects on your overall health, so I stress getting nutrient tested, especially if you have bleeding gums or are overweight. You may find that your health problem is easier to fix than you thought.
Are you getting enough vitamin D?
With the promising benefits of vitamin D, how can you be sure you're getting enough?
The most accurate way to test your vitamin D levels is with a 25-hydroxyvitamin D blood test. A result of 20 nanograms (ng)/milliliter (mL) to 50 ng/mL is considered adequate for healthy people. You may be deficient in vitamin D if your level is less than 12 ng/mL.
You need a doctor to perform this test. And don't be afraid to ask for a vitamin D test. Even if your doctor hasn't considered testing for your vitamin D deficiency, that doesn't mean it's not a good idea.
If your gums bleed, you have gum disease, and especially if you're also overweight, ask your dentist to test you for vitamin D to see if this might be a nutrient you need more of.
More vitamin D for weight loss
Your body makes vitamin D when you are exposed to sunlight; This is why vitamin D is also known as the "sunshine vitamin." You can also get vitamin D through supplements or certain foods. Since foods do not normally contain natural vitamin D, some foods are fortified with the vitamin.Foods that contain vitamin Dcontain:
- Grass-fed dairy products contain natural vitamin D and are highly recommended.
- Grass Fed Yogurt
Sometimes it can be difficult to get enough vitamin D through sun exposure and diet. You might also consider taking a dietary supplement. EITHERInstitute of Agricultural and Food Sciencesrecommends the following IUs (international units) of vitamin D per day:
- Children and adolescents: 600 IU
- Adults up to 70 years: 600 IU
- Adults over 70 years: 800 IU
- Pregnant or lactating women: 600 IU
But I recommend more. I think adults should take at least 2,000 IU and children up to 1,200 IU.
I also highly recommend trying to get some sun (about 20 minutes) before putting on sunscreen.
Be sure to consult your doctor before taking any vitamin D supplement.
When we think of a typical visit to the dentist, we might think of a teeth cleaning, in-office exam, or x-ray. Based on a growing body of evidence, we assure you that we have been provenvitamin D deficiencyit can also be an important step in maintaining our oral and general health.
That's why I wanted to ask you...
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More information about Dr. from linclinical protocolshows steps parents can take to prevent dental problems in their children:Click here.
Does your dentist test for vitamin D deficiency?
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