(RxWiki News) Could soaking up some sun or otherwise getting a good dose of vitamin D help keep those pearly whites healthy?
A review of dental studies connected vitamin D and lower rates of tooth decay in children. Vitamin D levels were increased through diet supplementation with products like cod liver oil or through supplemental UV radiation.
When reviewing the data, the researchers found that overall, supplemental vitamin D was tied to a reduction in incidence of dental caries (tooth decay and cavities) of 47 percent.
"Brush and floss your teeth daily."
The review, led by Philippe Hujoel, PhD, from the University of Washington, looked at 24 controlled clinical trials (CCTs) involving a total of 2,827 children.
The studies were completed in the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Austria, New Zealand and Sweden from the 1920s until the 1980s. The children were between the ages of 2 and 16 years old, with an average age of 10.
The link between vitamin D and tooth decay has long been contested. “My main goal was to summarize the clinical trial database so that we could take a fresh look at this vitamin D question," said Dr. Hujoel.
Dr. Hujoel does provide a word of caution, saying, "One has to be careful with the interpretation of this systematic review. The trials had weaknesses which could have biased the results, and most of the trial participants lived in an era that differs profoundly from today's environment. "
Not only were lifestyles different during the time of these studies, many were completed before the study design standards expected in experiments today were widely in place.
However, despite these weaknesses, the authors stress that there is little risk in recognizing the importance of vitamin D as a nutrient. New research looking at the role of vitamin D in modern children's dental health will help determine if the findings of this review hold true.
The review was published online in November 2012 by the journal Nutrition Reviews. No conflicts of interest were reported.