People with higher levels of vitamin D in their blood may be less likely to develop gum disease, according to a new study.
The study only finds an inverse correlation between blood levels of vitamin D and gum disease. It does not mean vitamin D definitely helps prevent gum disease.
In the study, Dr. Thomas Dietrich from Boston University's Goldman School of Dental Medicine analyzed data from a U.S. nationwide health survey involving 6,700 Americans between 1988 and 1994.
Researchers found those in the quintile with the highest levels of vitamin D in their blood were 20 percent less likely to have gingivitis than those in the quintile with the lowest levels.
Gingivitis is a milder gum disease that causes gums to swell and bleed.
Vitamin D is well known for its role in calcium absorption and bone health. Recent studies have also suggested vitamin D may help the immune system to fight inflammation.
Researchers do not know whether or not vitamin D has a preventive effect on gum disease. But there is a possibility that vitamin D may benefit the gum health through its anti-inflammatory properties.
Further studies are needed to confirm vitamin D as a marker or a cause for the lower risk of gum disease.
(American Journal of Clinical Nutrition)