Sun’s Out, Gums Out: How Sunshine Benefits Oral Health

sunshineWe’re heading into the dog days of summer, which typically means really hot days and a lot of sunshine. This can be great for enjoying some time in the pool, on the lake, or at the beach, but your dentist in Canton wants you to know that all of this sun can also be great for your oral and overall health thanks to the extra boost of vitamin D. 

The Power of Vitamin D

The sun is a pretty powerful thing — it helps us grow food, it keeps us warm, and it prevents the planet from turning into a giant ice ball. But the sun’s benefits run even deeper. In fact, we have the sun to thank for helping our bodies stay happy and healthy thanks to a little thing called vitamin D. Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that helps our overall and oral health in so many ways, such as: 

  • Calcium Absorption – We all know that calcium is needed to help build strong bones and teeth. But your dentist in Canton also knows that without vitamin D, the benefits of calcium don’t go as far. Calcium needs vitamin D in order to absorb properly and completely, and in order for your body to get all of the benefits of calcium. 
  • Protection Against Tooth Decay – Similarly to the above, several studies also suggest a positive correlation between vitamin D and the prevention of tooth decay. Researchers have even shown that vitamin D can lower the risk of tooth decay by 50%!
  • Immune System Support – Vitamin D can also help support the immune system and help it function properly. While this connection is complex, there is proof that vitamin D helps regulate and balance the immune system to protect us from germs, viruses, and infections. 

The best way to get vitamin D is through some good old fashioned sunshine. But as we all know, too much sun can have negative effects, such as a painful sunburn and an increased risk for skin cancer. Enjoy sunlight in moderation and know your limits. Most researchers agree that anywhere between 5 and 30 minutes of sunshine a day is all it takes to get enough vitamin D. 

Good Sources of Vitamin D

Getting enough vitamin D can be difficult, especially during winter months or over several days of dreary, rainy weather. When the sun isn’t an option, you can get your vitamin D by choosing foods that contain it. Some foods that are good sources of vitamin D are: 

  • Fatty fish such as salmon or tuna
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Fortified cereal, orange juice, or yogurt 

Knowing all of the benefits associated with sunshine and vitamin D, trust your dentist in Canton when they say to get outside, enjoy the weather, and soak up some rays. Just make sure you limit your exposure to direct sunlight and wear sunscreen if you’ll be outside for an extended period of time. 

Accepting new patients at all of our dental offices in Canton, Farmington Hills, and Livonia.

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