Believe it or not, many Alaskans are prone to cavities, tooth decay, and other dental maladies just by living year round up here in the 49th State.
The reason has to do with Vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D is a crucial nutrient the body needs for a wide variety things, including healthy teeth and bones. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which is what keeps teeth and bones strong. Without Vitamin D, your body cannot absorb calcium, no matter how many calcium supplements you take. In fact, this is a big reason why a lot of milk is sold with Vitamin D added.
Without enough Vitamin D, you may also suffer from bone loss in your jaws, resulting in loosening teeth, and eventually having your teeth fall out.
People naturally create Vitamin D in their bodies through exposure to sunlight. Just by being outside in the sun and letting it shine on your face, neck, and arms for 15 minutes is enough generate enough Vitamin D for a day. But here in Anchorage, where we get only 5-7 hours of sunlight during December and January, it’s difficult to get enough sunlight exposure.
How To Tell if You Might Have Vitamin D Deficiency
Bleeding gums and tooth decay are the first signs of Vitamin D deficiency. If you are experiencing this, ask yourself if you’ve been getting at least 15 minutes of sunlight each day. If you are not getting enough sunlight, you may be deficient. Definitely give our office a call and let us do an examination.
Depression, back pain, loss of energy, hair loss, and slow wound healing are also symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency. Again, if you’re experiencing these symptoms, ask yourself if you’ve been getting enough sunlight each day. If you don’t, it may very well be a lack of sufficient Vitamin D.
Depending on how severe your symptoms may be, the solution is not always to get more sunlight. You should see a physician first for an examination just to make sure.
What if It’s Not Possible to Get More Sunlight?
If you simply cannot get outside under the sun, try these options instead…
- East fresh fish, salmon and tuna in particular. This is your best choice.
- Milk enriched with Vitamin D (if you are lactose tolerant).
- Cereals fortified with Vitamin D
- Vitamin D supplements (only if you cannot consume any of the above).