With the change in weather, people are starting to venture out of their homes, shake off that winter blues, embrace the great weather, and get some much needed fresh air. Spring and summer bring new precautions to protecting your teeth, such as avoiding accidentally ingesting chlorine from the pool, but the warmer seasons also come with great perks to your oral health; namely, increased vitamin D intake from soaking in those sun rays.
Vitamin D and the Body
Vitamin D’s main function in the body is to absorb calcium to promote the healthy growth of bone. This means that it plays a key role in the prevention of tooth decay and the development of dental enamel in babies. It has also been linked to the regulation of your immune system and neuromuscular system, and is believed to play a role in the life cycles of cells in humans. Vitamin D deficiency is very common, with 3 million cases in the United States every year. With a number that high you may be thinking that it is considerably difficult to maintain healthy vitamin D levels, but it is really as easy as spending time in the sun.
Where You Can Get Vitamin D
Your body naturally produces vitamin D, yes it is that important, but your body needs something to move the production along, and that “something” is simply sunlight. The amount of time that you need to spend in the sun varies depending on what time of day you are out, where you live, skin color, and how much skin you expose. To get the most sunlight, you should try to spend more time in the sun during the afternoon hours and expose more than just your arms. Also, those living in Northern climates will get less sunlight over the course of the year than someone living closer to the Equator. Those with paler skin will need to spend about 15 minutes in the sun to develop enough vitamin D while those with darker skin may need to spend as much as 2 hours in the sun.
Luckily, there are other ways for you to get the vitamin D that you need. Aside from sunlight, vitamin D is also found in fortified milk, cereals, infant formula, and orange juice. It can also be found naturally in fatty fish, beef liver, and egg yolks. Those who are lactose intolerant or adhere to strict vegan diets can also take supplements to get the vitamin D that they need.
For those already struggling with tooth decay, there is help. A great dentist can show you proper brushing and flossing techniques as well as inform you about healthy, sugar-free alternatives to your favorite snacks. If you live in the Austin area and are looking for a fantastic dentist that you can trust, consider paying a visit to Dr. Matthews at Dan Matthews, DDS. Give us a call at (512) 520-0606 to schedule an appointment today.