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Study finds modest association between periodontitis and low levels of vitamin D

A new study has found an association between low levels of vitamin D, which is produced through sun exposure, and the presence of periodontal disease. (Image: FotoHelin/Shutterstock)

Sat. 11 January 2020


OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada: There is sufficient scientific evidence that shows why vitamin D is essential to the body’s proper functioning. The vitamin is helpful for maintaining healthy bones and teeth and can assist in regulating insulin levels and managing diabetes treatment. Now, a new study has found an association between low levels of vitamin D and periodontal disease.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that regulates calcium absorption from the gastrointestinal tract, helps to maintain the plasma calcium concentration and bone mineralization. Literature has shown significant positive associations between vitamin D levels and bone mineral density.  Vitamin D supplementation has also been shown to reduce the risk of fractures.

Chronic periodontitis is an inflammatory condition of the periodontium caused by microbial biofilms forming on the teeth. Bacterial products influence the host immune response and result in the destruction of the tooth-supporting tissues such as alveolar bone. Periodontal disease has several associated risk factors and indicators. Since there is conflicting evidence regarding the association between vitamin D and periodontal disease, a study was needed to establish a relation between the two.

Researchers from the University of Manitoba in Canada conducted a cross-sectional study, in which they examined data collected between 2007 and 2009 from respondents to the Canadian Health Measures Survey. They determined the Vitamin D levels by measuring the concentrations of plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), a metabolite produced once vitamin D has been metabolized by the liver. The periodontal status was defined through the gingival index and clinical loss of attachment.

After accounting for additional independent variables such as smoking, the research team found that there was modest evidence for an association between low concentrations of 25(OH)D and periodontal disease.

“Prospective studies with longer follow-up are likely required to fully elucidate what effect, if any, vitamin D levels have on the progression of periodontal disease,” the study’s authors wrote.

As reported by Dental Tribune International, a prior study has shown that a vitamin D deficiency, paired with periodontitis, may have an influence on Type 2 diabetes. However, sufficient vitamin D levels may have the potential to decrease inflammation and have an impact on the oral microbes that are related to periodontal disease.

The study, titled “The relation between periodontal disease and vitamin D,” was published online on March 6, 2019, in the Journal of the Canadian Dental Association.

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