Making the Connection
Just as calcium and vitamin D are needed for healthy bones, they are also necessary for your baby’s oral health. Teeth start to form in utero, so dental problems can start before they even erupt. It’s long been known that calcium helps strengthen a fetus’ teeth during the development process, but now scientists have discovered a link between prenatal vitamin D and tooth decay.
A recent study indicates that children born to mothers with inadequate vitamin D levels had a greater chance of developing early childhood dental caries. During the study, the vitamin D levels of 206 pregnant women were analyzed during their second trimester. Only 10.5 percent of the women had adequate levels of vitamin D. Researchers then followed up on 135 of these infants at 16 months of age. Of the children born to women with lower levels of vitamin D, 21.6 percent of them had enamel defects, which leave teeth more susceptible to dental cavities. Tooth decay was found in 33.6 percent of the children born to women with the lowest levels of vitamin D.
The results of this study raise concerns in the dental health community, and although further research is needed, it may mean expectant mothers need to increase their vitamin D intake to help prevent childhood dental problems.
An Excellent Indication
As the research indicates, vitamin D may affect children’s dental health long before they’re born! If you’re expecting, speak with your dentist about your diet and nutritional supplements, and visit your dentist regularly for a dental checkup. Taking the time to care for yourself could increase your baby’s chances for a longer, healthier life!