Is the Sun Good for Your Teeth?

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Vitamin D, which is often obtained from the sun, is essential for a healthy body and strong bones. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium from foods and supplements, muscles need it to move and the immune system needs it to fight bacteria and viruses. Now, new research is linking vitamin D to oral health as well.

The study revisited clinical trials of 2,000 children aged 2-16 from different countries between the 1920s and 1980s and discovered that vitamin D was linked to a 50 percent reduction in the occurrence 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," says Dr. Philippe Hujoel, professor at the University of Washington School of Dentistry.

"Whether this is more than just a coincidence is open to debate," says Dr. Hujoel. "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."

More research is necessary to determine the validity of the findings. "The trials had weaknesses which could have biased the result and most of the trial participants lived in an era that differs profoundly from today's environment," Dr. Hujoel adds.

The Food and Nutrition Board recommend adults between 19 and 70 years of age get 600 IU of vitamin D each day. Do you take vitamin D supplements?