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Vitamin D and Gum Disease

Updated on July 24, 2011

Gum disease simply put, occurs when the gums around the teeth become infected and begin to swell. Although there are a few factors that can result in this disease like age, obesity and stress, Vitamin D is proven to be the largest cause.

Vitamin D is referred to as the “Sunshine Vitamin” and it is produced primarily from your body having direct contact with sunlight. According to the Journal of Periodontology, vitamin D is as important as calcium for your teeth. Bone loss as well as an increase in inflammation can occur if your body has vitamin D or calcium deficiency.

What Is Gum Disease

Gum disease is caused by bacterial infections that if you ignore and do not treat can cause damage to the bone and result in tooth loss. Speaking technically, the molecules that have a destructive effect on your body are from Proinflammatory Cytokines. Vitamin D has protects your body against the Cytokins that lead to gum disease.

How Does Vitamin D Work?

Your body goes through a very long process utilizing vitamin D. The vitamin acts like a hormone, even though it is considered what is called a fat-soluble vitamin. It works with a parathyroid hormone (PTH) in your body to maintain healthy levels of calcium in your blood.

If you have low levels of calcium in your blood then PTH is secreted from your parathyroid gland and the some of the vitamin D that is in your body is transformed into Calcitriol. This actually causes your intestines to absorb calcium so then your kidneys eventually increase calcium levels in your blood. Once the calcium level becomes high in your blood, the Calcitiol decreases, causing your intestines to absorb calcium, resulting in your bones fighting over the calcium that is left.

When the vitamin D levels remain low in your body, the parathyroid gland becomes overactive so the PTH levels rise and the phosphorus in blood drops. Without enough phosphorus, the new bone cells absorb more water and swell. This is where the inflammation comes from.

How Do You Obtain Vitamin D?

According to the National Institute of Health, 10 to 15 minutes of outdoor activity a couple of times a week is all you really need. If you live somewhere that is always cloudy or full of smog, then vitamin D can be received by consuming milk, eggs and fish, primarily salmon, shrimp and sardines.

Who's at Risk for Gum Disease?

Primarily, gum disease attacks people over 50 years old. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, men with lower levels of vitamin D have a 61% higher risk of obtaining gum disease while women of the same age were at a 74% higher risk.

Also, if you are African American, you need even more sunlight to produce enough vitamin D because darker skin has more melanin which makes it harder it is for your body to absorb vitamin D.

If you are over the age of 50, have darker skin, stress in your life or obesity then you need to start making positive changes now to ensure the health of your teeth and gums later.

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    • kerlynb profile image

      kerlynb 6 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

      "10 to 15 minutes of outdoor activity a couple of times a week is all you really need" - Wow, that's it? It's so easy :) Lots of sunshine here in my place. Thank you for telling us about this. I need VitD with my calcium. I've got osteopenia, it's this bone ailment that is a notch lower than osteoporosis :(

    • Miss Lil' Atlanta profile image

      Miss Lil' Atlanta 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      I'm a natural redhead so I don't even have to go outside to get enough vitamin D, since not only do I have porcelain skin and the MCR1 gene. Well, at least now I know that I'll probably not have too many problems with Gum Disease.

      Then again, my friend's a natural redhead, and she’s low on vitamin D... but she has thyroid issues as well.

      I've always had good teeth though, and am very health conscious, so I've never had health problems before. I think a lot of it is thanks to being a vegetarian.

    • profile image

      DePuy Pinnacle Recall 6 years ago

      Other than preventing gum diseases, Vitamin D is vital for the absorption of Calcium which is responsible for keeping our bones healthy and strong. Like when I had a DePuy Pinancle hip implant (which is most likely going to have a recall), I took foods which were high in Vitamin D and Calcium. But overall, great hub!

    • drdspervez profile image

      drdspervez 6 years ago from Pakistan

      Thank you for writing very informative and good article. I rated you up. :)


    • mulberry1 profile image

      mulberry1 7 years ago

      Interesting how vitamins or rather the lack thereof are often at the heart of so many health issues.

    • theherbivorehippi profile image

      theherbivorehippi 7 years ago from Holly, MI

      I'm glad you enjoyed! Thanks for reading! :)

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Well, this is a super informative hub - and yes we desperately need vitamin D which is lacking severely in our diet.

      Thanks for putting together a hub - with everything I need.


    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Very nice message again. You always have great advice. Vitamin D is very under-rated. It's one of the best cures and preventions of colds and flus. Thank you Dear!

    • theherbivorehippi profile image

      theherbivorehippi 7 years ago from Holly, MI

      Thanks TattoGuy and Aaron99 for stopping by and reading!! ;)

    • profile image

      AARON99 7 years ago

      A very informative hub on this topic. Vitamin D is very much helpful for gums disease, almost everyone knows it, but you showed it. Well done. Enjoy.

    • profile image

      TattoGuy 7 years ago

      This is a brilliant hub and deff had me getting fish oil capsules and a few eggs, but great advice on a serious issue, jeeez we all need our teeth, well except for that chick round the corner from me who has the best set of gums in Belfast, rated up by moi, yer hub that is, not her gums ; )

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Nice hub on vitamin D.

    • theherbivorehippi profile image

      theherbivorehippi 7 years ago from Holly, MI

      Thanks so much for the rating and for taking the time to read it!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I have wonderful information from this hub. Thank you so much. I rate this Up!

    • theherbivorehippi profile image

      theherbivorehippi 7 years ago from Holly, MI

      OMG...I actually got tan lines today being out in the sun for a bit with the dogs. Who knew the sun was so fierce in the middle of March! lol... Maybe I should lay out with a space heater all winter...haha. yeah..I thought of this hub when I was outside and how much more energetic i felt after just getting a little sunlight after the dreary weekend!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      I've read a lot lately about how importand D is. I get plenty of sunlight!

    • theherbivorehippi profile image

      theherbivorehippi 7 years ago from Holly, MI

      Thank you so much reading!

    • Property-Invest profile image

      Property-Invest 7 years ago from London

      Hey HH. I live in London and with 6 months of darkness, I can testify that Vitamin D has definitely helped me avoid S.A.D. Thanks for such great hubs; keep them up.

    • entertianmentplus profile image

      entertianmentplus 7 years ago from United States

      Nice hub good info.

    • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image

      Tatjana-Mihaela 7 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

      This is excellent article, thumbs up.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      That's really true - I was also just prescribed vitamin D and calcium/mag/zinc for aching bones and tendons - and whether it's in my head or not, I feel better already!

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 7 years ago from I'm outta here

      Gotta love the SUN, Its a GOOD thing. Everyone should get a good dose of it daily. Great Hub.

    • theherbivorehippi profile image

      theherbivorehippi 7 years ago from Holly, MI

      Thanks so much for reading! I just love the fact that Mr. Sunshine can give us something positive!

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 7 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      This is an excellent hub, and the information is so important. I always had perfect teeth, as I am aging my teeth are chipping real easily. We all need to take more care as we grow older and really work on taking more vitamins. Thanks for this awesome hub.