Vitamin D Gets Grade A for Health, but Can’t Reverse Cavities

There are many outlandish claims drifting around the internet about vitamin D and its purported ability to halt the progress of dental cavities and even reverse tooth decay.

While it’s true that vitamin D is vital to bone health and oral health, declarations that increasing one’s vitamin D intake can cause cavities to make a 180 are based on a misinterpretation of outdated science. If you’re concerned about the appearance and health of your teeth, it’s best to consult with a dentist before adding dietary supplements or dramatically increasing the intake of a particular nutrient.

smile photo
Photo by lenifuzhead. Vitamin D has benefits for a healthy smile, but it can’t reverse tooth decay or restore damaged teeth.

Vitamin D-Mythologized

A recent Snopes.com report tackled the origins of the vitamin D-tooth decay myth. The notion that vitamin D can send cavities retreating received a recent boost from David Wolfe, a raw-foods enthusiast and author of alternative-health books.

Wolfe wrote a widely shared web post titled “Reverse Cavities and Heal Tooth Decay with These 5 Steps,” one of which was to increase vitamin D consumption. Wolfe claimed this could halt the progression of cavities and regenerate damaged portions of the teeth.

The citation for these claims is a 1932 study, which focused on whether a cereal-free diet—but one rich in vitamin D and calcium—affected cavities in young children (the median age was 5 ½, and most had teeth that were “defective in structure” and presented “active dental caries”). The study found that tooth decay in children with diminished enamel slowed when those children were placed on a diet high in calcium and vitamin D, and free of cereal.

Vitamin D and Your Teeth

That early study indicated that the increased calcium and restricted cereal greatly improved results over vitamin D alone. That said, vitamin D has numerous health benefits, and many relate to our teeth and dental health.

A 2011 review of research concerning vitamin D and its impacts on oral health found that a vitamin D deficiency was associated with a heightened risk for tooth loss and gum disease. Other studies have backed vitamin D’s role in cavity prevention, particularly in children.

Recently, archeologists used fossilized teeth to chart a record of vitamin D deficiency in people from the 18th and 19th centuries. According to a New York Times article on the research, insufficient vitamin D leaves bubbles or gaps in the dentin, the layer below the enamel that comprises most of each tooth’s structure.

Austin cosmetic dentist Dr. Dan Matthews can’t help you regrow damaged or lost teeth (yet), but he can help you achieve a smile that’s as beautiful as it is healthy. If you’re considering restorative or cosmetic dentistry treatment, please call Dan Matthews, DDS, today at 512-452-2273 to schedule your complimentary consultation at our Bee Cave Road office.

Dan Matthews DDS
Dan Matthews Dan Matthews DDS The Park at Eanes Creek,
4407 Bee Cave Road
Building 2, Suite 221
Austin, Texas, 78746
(512) 452-2273
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