A new study says that higher levels of vitamin D may be useful in preventing the development of gum disease, a condition called as gingivitis.
Researchers combed through data from a national U.S. health survey and found that teenagers and adults who had high levels of Vitamin D were less likely to develop gingivitis than those who had low levels of the same. This condition causes the gums to swell up as well as causes them to bleed easily when they are gently touched. However, the study's lead author, Dr. Thomas Dietrich of Boston University's Goldman School of Dental Medicine cautions against consuming vitamin D supplements or getting excess sunlight as it is too early to tell if there is any positive correlation between the vitamin and enhanced gum health. He said that the study only showed an association between the two and did not say if they were interrelated. The study is detailed in the latest issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The researchers based their findings on data from 6,700 Americans who took part in a federal health study between 1988 and 1994. They divided these participants into five groups and found that as vitamin D levels increased, the complaints of gum problems decreased. The group that had the highest level of vitamin D was 20 percent less likely to suffer from gum related diseases than the other groups.
Gingivitis, or the inflammation of the gums is caused by the accumulation of debris and bacteria in the crevices between the teeth and gums. When these bacteria cross a certain level, the symptoms of the condition are manifested. These include pain, bleeding from the gums and swelling. Vitamin D's role in preventing inflammation is well documented and researchers speculate that it is this property that helps in preventing gum disease.