Much like plants, our teeth and gums are photosensitive says an article published in the latest issue of the Journal of Periodontology. The paper authored by a researcher at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis says that sunlight is an important factor in the maintenance of oral health.
"Calcium and vitamin D are important to oral health," observed study author Charles F. Hildebolt, D.D.S., Ph.D., associate professor of radiology at Washington University's Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology. "The best way to get calcium is through the diet, but we need vitamin D to regulate calcium, and it's hard to eat enough foods rich in vitamin D to meet that need. The best source of vitamin D is sunshine." Vitamin D happens to be vital to the system in that it regulates calcium metabolism in the body. Even if adequate amounts of calcium are present in the body, Vitamin D is essential to maintain the balance of the mineral in bones as well as blood. Without Vitamin D, the chances of developing inflammatory disease in the gums increase many folds. For low Vitamin D levels trigger the levels of cytokines, the proteins that promote inflammation.
"Periodontal disease is an inflammatory process in which cytokine levels are increased," Hildebolt says. "You can actually think of the disease as an overreaction to bacteria in the mouth that causes damage to the bone and the soft tissues that support the teeth."
The best way to lower this risk is to make sure that you get adequate amount of exposure to the sun so that the body is able to replenish its Vitamin D reserves. "Too much sunshine isn't good either. But sunshine remains the best way for our bodies to make vitamin D, so we need to get enough sunshine to generate the vitamin D that our systems require," the author concludes.
It seems good advice then to get some sun as Vitamin D and Calcium not only maintain gum health, but also give strong bones and teeth besides lowering the risk for rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.