For healthier teeth, go outside for half an hour every day.
“Brush your teeth after every meal, and floss daily.”
This is solid advice—but it’s not enough to fully protect the health of our teeth. That starts from the inside, says Dr. Linda Golden, owner of Golden Dental Wellness Center, in Manhasset.
“Our teeth are living parts of our bodies—they’re a key part of our musculoskeletal system—and like our other organs, they’re kept in check by our diet and lifestyle,” she says. “While we all know a proper dental-care regimen is critical, a part of dental health that is often overlooked is vitamin D deficiency.”
Vitamin D Is Key
Vitamin D is essential to dental immunity, total-body immunity and gut health, she says. All those things affect the health of the mouth. But the most direct and obvious benefit is the prevention of tooth decay.
“There’s truth to the saying that milk makes your bones strong,” Golden says. “Calcium helps increase bone density, including the enamel that makes up a layer of your teeth. However, calcium absorption is regulated by vitamin D; if you lack vitamin D, the calcium you consume will never be absorbed and utilized as tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay. To make matters worse, the dentin in your teeth, which helps repair enamel, is also protected and fueled by vitamin D. Essentially, a lack of vitamin D can directly lead to tooth decay and cripple the systems in place to fight it as well.”
Gingivitis, or bleeding gums, is another symptom of vitamin D deficiency, she says. A lack of vitamin D leaves the gums vulnerable to bacterial infection, which leads to swelling of the gums. In extreme cases, this imbalance in the mouth’s microbiome can lead to periodontitis, or gum disease, which can destroy teeth and the bones that support them. Vitamin D reduces inflammation and stimulates the production of antimicrobial agents that defend against both gingivitis and periodontitis.
The easiest way to get vitamin D is to get out in the sunshine—“a key evolutionary environmental factor affecting our total health,” Golden says. “Make sure you’re getting at least 30 minutes of sunlight a day on your arms and face to ensure that your body is able to convert enough vitamin D. If there is no sun for prolonged periods of time, or if your body has trouble converting sunlight into vitamin D, foods like salmon, eggs and cheese also contain vitamin D.”
Vitamin D3 supplements can boost immune health, especially if used with K2 supplements, Golden says. She recommends adding zinc, vitamin C, garlic and elderberry supplements to further enhance immunity. She says the team of dentists at Golden Dental Wellness Center can offer advice on these and other measures to protect oral health.
The Center is currently taking additional precautions to sterilize and protect against COVID-19, including the use of ozone therapy to ward off bacteria and viruses.
Location: 444 Community Dr., Manhasset, NY. For appointments or more information, call 516-627-8400 or visit GoldenSmile.com.