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Take Vitamin D to defeat dental decay

Vitamin D is truly a super vitamin: not only is it purported to reduce the risk of cancer, it may also play a role in combatting tooth decay.

A new study concludes that vitamin D may reduce tooth decay by approximately 50 percent. The upshot of the study is you should take vitamin D, which will definitely make your teeth harder — and may even lead to fewer cavities.

The study consisted of a review of 24 clinical trials, carried out from the 1920s to the 1980s, and involving 3000 children in several countries, including the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Austria, New Zealand and Sweden. The children were given vitamin D, either via UV lights or via supplements such as cod liver oil. The study was done by Dr. Philippe Hujoel of the University of Washington and published in the December 2012 issue of Nutrition Reviews.

Although scientists all agree that vitamin D is good for your bones, the link between vitamin D and tooth decay has historically been contentious. In the 1950s, the American Medical Association (AMA) concluded that there is a link between vitamin D and tooth decay, while the American Dental Association (ADA) made the opposite assertion.

The role of vitamin D in preventing tooth decay becomes even more important in light of current public health trends. Vitamin D levels in are decreasing while tooth decay levels among young children are increasing. “Whether this is more than just a coincidence is open to debate,” said 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.”

Source: Philippe Hujoel. “Vitamin D and dental caries in controlled clinical trials: systematic review and meta-analysis.” Nutrition Reviews. November 9, 2012.