In the human body, our bones and teeth are made up of similar tissues and are subject to the same problems. One of these issues is a deficiency in Vitamin D, which causes rickets and osteoporosis in bones.
There are two different sets of teeth you will have in a lifetime (unless you need dentures!). First, you have your baby, or primary teeth which erupt from the gums about six months after birth. This is the cause of teething, a painful experience for any child.
The second set of teeth you have are called permanent teeth which typically form at the age of six. If a mother has low levels of Vitamin D and Calcium when this development is taking place, baby teeth may not form properly.
A tooth consists of multiple sections. Most importantly, the top part of a tooth is called a crown which is made of enamel consisting of calcium phosphate. Beneath that crown is dentin which is mineralized tissue that is not quite as tough as enamel. Within your dentin is the pulp of the tooth, which contains the nerves and blood vessels of the tooth. This is what is exposed when you require a root canal operation.
A lack of Vitamin D results from the inadequate mineralization of teeth and can have detrimental effects on all stages of development of teeth.
If an infant has insufficient Vitamin D, their teeth may not erupt until after one year of life; when they do erupt they may be smaller than average.
Once permanent teeth have set an individual with low levels of Vitamin D may develop periodontal disease which weakens the anchoring of teeth into bone and results in infection and loss of teeth. Additionally, a Vitamin D deficiency can result in cavities which are small holes in the enamel of the tooth.
Good sources of Vitamin D include: fish, orange juice, eggs and dairy products. You can also get some Vitamin D from sunlight–just make sure it’s moderate amounts!