Vitamin D Deficiency Could Lead to Caries

Research published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information in February shows that an abundance of vitamin D in children could lower the risk of caries, the scientific term for tooth decay.

The study, authored by professors at Canada's University of Manitoba, investigated the relationship between vitamin D levels and dental caries among 1,017 children ages 6 to 11 participating in the Canadian Health Measures Survey.

The research began when the children were assessed individually. First, the examiners conducted dental examinations on the children's oral cavities, checking for decay. Secondly, serum from each child was collected so that the concentration level of vitamin D in the children could be measured.

Overall, 56.4 percent of the children had experienced caries, but the authors concluded that data "suggested" that there is an "association between dental caries and lower vitamin D."

It was shown that children who had "adequate" to "optimal" levels of vitamin D, the authors said, experienced fewer caries. Those with less than "adequate" amounts of vitamin D experienced more caries.

In all, those children with optimal amounts of vitamin D had a 39 percent lower chance of having had caries, while those with adequate amounts had a 47 percent lower chance of having had caries.

The authors concluded, "Improving children's vitamin D status may be an additional preventive consideration to lower the risk for caries."

Vitamin D, according to medical website Health.com, is associated with bone health. To increase the levels, experts recommend getting more sunlight, taking supplements, and eating foods rich in vitamin D, such as salmon, tuna and fortified dairy and cereal.

To read the abstract of the study, visit www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.

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