Studies have shown that vitamin D is clutch for strong bones, sharp brains, iron-clad immune systems, good moods, and more. Looks like this vital vitamin we get from the sun and certain foods may also help keep our teeth tough and less prone to decay. A new, large-scale research review examined the vitamin D levels and dental health of almost 3,000 children in the U.S. and five other countries and linked the nutrient to a 50 percent reduction in decay. Yes, these studies centered on kids, but there's good reason to believe vitamin D may be great for grown-up teeth as well.
According to researcher Dr. Philippe Hujoel, a professor of oral health sciences at the University of Washington, vitamin D enables teeth to calcify properly, which may help keep decay at bay. He says this also could result in fewer cavities, both because teeth are stronger and because vitamin D enhances immunity – in other words, your body's better prepared to battle cavity-causing infections.
To get enough vitamin D to do your teeth right, Hujoel says to load up on foods that contain the vitamin – fish, mushrooms, and fortified milk and eggs have decent D levels. He's hesitant to recommend vitamin D supplements, however, at least until a pivotal, randomized-controlled trial produces evidence in their favor. Hujoel also says to get outdoors and under the sun as much as you can. Obviously, outside time is tougher to score in the cold, dark winter months, but he says that "proper nutrition combined with seasonal sun exposure can ensure optimum dental health without supplements." Finally, Hujoel recommends shunning sugary beverages that are loaded with phosphates, which can indirectly suppress vitamin D levels.