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Vitamin D Deficiency and Oral Health

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4 min read


The body produces vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight. The deficiency of this vitamin causes specific effects on the oral cavity. Read below to know more.

Written by

Dr. Geethika. B

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Sneha Kannan

Published At June 8, 2022
Reviewed AtMarch 6, 2023


Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps the body absorb calcium, magnesium, and phosphate, allowing for appropriate bone formation and preservation. To maintain a healthy vitamin D level, a circulating level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D greater than 30 ng/mL is required. Vitamin D insufficiency can cause a variety of issues, the most common of which are rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults.

Vitamin D aids calcium absorption in the body. One of the most important components of bone is calcium. Vitamin D is also important for the neurological, muscular, and immunological systems. Vitamin D can be obtained through the skin, diet, and supplementation. After being exposed to sunlight, the body produces vitamin D. However, because too much sun exposure can cause skin aging and cancer, many seek vitamin D from alternative sources.

The daily vitamin D needs are determined by age. The following are the recommended amounts in international units (IU):

Recommended Amount of Vitamin D

People at a greater risk of vitamin D insufficiency may require more vitamin D. It is advisable to consult the doctor to determine the vitamin D requirement of each individual.

What Are the Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency?

A variety of factors can cause vitamin D insufficiency. These include:

  • Insufficient Dietary Intake or Reduced Absorption:

Vitamin D deficiency (VDD) can be linked with a variety of malabsorption syndromes, including short bowel syndrome, celiac disease, gastric bypass, inflammatory bowel disease, cystic fibrosis, and chronic pancreatic insufficiency. Oral vitamin D deficiency is more common in the elderly population.

  • Reduced Exposure to the Sun:

About half to ninety percent of vitamin D is absorbed through the skin when exposed to sunlight, with the balance coming from food. Vitamin D insufficiency can be prevented by spending 20 minutes a day in the sun with more than 40 % of the skin exposed. Vitamin D synthesis in the skin decreases as people get older. Vitamin D production in the skin is lower in dark-skinned people. Vitamin D insufficiency can also be caused by a lack of sun exposure, as observed in those who are institutionalized or have been in the hospital for a long time. Individuals who use sunscreen regularly have less effective solar exposure.

  • Endogenous Synthesis Is Reduced:

Individuals with chronic liver disease, such as cirrhosis, may have a failure in 25-hydroxylation, resulting in a vitamin D deficiency. Hyperparathyroidism,1-alpha hydroxylase insufficiency, and renal failure are all symptoms of a problem with 1-alpha 25-hydroxylation.

  • Hepatic Catabolism Is Increased:

Hepatic p450 enzymes are activated by medications such as Phenobarbital, Dexamethasone, Carbamazepine, Spironolactone, Nifedipine, Clotrimazole, and Rifampin, which cause vitamin D degradation.

  • End Organ Resistance:

In familial vitamin D-resistant rickets, end-organ resistance to vitamin D can be found.

What Are the Sources of Vitamin D?

There are a few foods that contain vitamin D naturally, which include:

  • Salmon, tuna, and mackerel types of fatty fish.

  • Liver or beef.

  • Cheese.

  • Mushrooms.

  • Yolks of eggs.

Vitamin D is also found in fortified foods such as:

  • Milk.

  • Cereals.

  • Orange juice.

  • Yogurt and other dairy items.

  • Drinks made from soy.

  • Multivitamins that contain vitamin D. Vitamin D supplements are now available in pill and liquid form for newborns.

The treatment for vitamin D deficiency is to take supplements. A doctor must be consulted about how much, how often, and how long one should take supplements.

What Are the Oral Effects of Vitamin D Deficiency?

Caries and Tooth Mineralization:

Teeth are mineralized organs with three separate hard tissues: enamel, dentin, and cementum. They are bordered by alveolar bone. Although tooth mineralization is comparable to skeletal mineralization, problems similar to those seen in bone tissue will ensue if mineral metabolism is disrupted. Vitamin D is important for bone and tooth mineralization. When levels are out of control, it can result in the "rachitic tooth," a deficient and hypo mineralized organ prone to fracture and decay.


Periodontitis is a complicated polymicrobial illness caused by plaque and characterized by long-term chronic inflammation. According to the most recent in vitro studies, vitamin D has obvious fine-tuning, anti-inflammatory, and mineralization effects on the periodontium. When comparing periodontitis patients to periodontally healthy patients, low salivary levels of vitamin D were linked to higher levels of inflammatory biomarkers, indicating the presence of an inflammatory milieu. Vitamin D, through its metabolic pathway, may be involved in the etiology of periodontitis by affecting tooth mineral density and being negatively connected with periodontal disease severity, according to preclinical and clinical research.

Orthodontic Treatment:

Facial esthetics, including the smile, have been a concern for teenagers and adults as aesthetic criteria have grown important. As a result, orthodontic procedures are becoming more popular. Tooth movement is based on the application of specified forces that result in mechanical stimuli involving two processes: bone resorption on the pressure site via osteoclastic activity and bone creation on the tension site via osteoblastic activity. According to preliminary findings, Vitamin D may play an essential role in tooth movement during orthodontic therapy. Despite the fact that much of the information is based on animal observation, growing evidence suggests that the local application of vitamin D causes faster tooth movement. Nonetheless, in animal models, VDD (vitamin D deficiency) produces a reduced rate of tooth movement, necessitating therapy.

Oral Cancers:

Though further research is needed, vitamin D may have a significant role in the initiation and progression of certain oral malignancies. Vitamin D deficiency is more common in patients with oral neoplastic lesions.


Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with an increased incidence of tooth decay, caries, periodontitis, and the failure of oral therapies. Although the influence of VDD correction with supplementation has been proven to be connected with better oral development and health throughout life, more research is needed to draw factual findings and prospective treatment guidelines. Nonetheless, 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels should be considered to maintain balanced oral health. These levels should be evaluated before treating any oral disorders to assure successful treatment outcomes.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Effects Can Vitamin D Deficiency Have on the Mouth?

The enamel, dentin, and cementum that make up teeth are three different hard tissues that are mineralized organs that are encased in the alveolar bone. The mineralization of teeth happens simultaneously with that of the skeleton, but if mineral metabolism is disrupted, tooth failures will resemble those that affect bone tissue. When vitamin D levels are out of control, it can cause the "rachitic tooth," a faulty and hypo-mineralized organ that is extremely prone to fracture and decay. Vitamin D is crucial for the mineralization of bones and teeth.


How Do Gums Respond to Vitamin D Deficiency?

Vitamin D, flossing, and brushing are all essential for maintaining good oral health. Yet, insufficient vitamin D levels can lead to a variety of dental health problems, including tooth decay, gum inflammation, and loss of teeth. When vitamin D levels are adequate may reduce gum disease-related oral bacteria and inflammation. In addition to helping to fight infections and reduce inflammation, vitamin D has also been linked to periodontitis.


Can a Lack of Vitamins Impact the Mouth?

The lack of vitamin A, B, C, and D have a significant impact on a patient's oral health involving, impaired tooth formation like enamel hypoplasia,  angular cheilitis, periodontal diseases, halitosis, hemorrhagic gingivitis, abnormal bone formation and painful ulcers in the mouth.


What Benefits Does Vitamin D Give Your Mouth?

Vitamin D is crucial for bone and tooth mineralization because it aids in the absorption and retention of calcium and phosphorus. When the vitamin D levels are inadequate or uncontrolled, the teeth may become brittle. Patients become extremely susceptible to fractures, cavities, and deterioration as a result. Hence adequate levels of vitamin D can lead to the prevention of dental cavities, according to a study in the United States. Additionally, vitamin D is linked with the immune system and hence promotes gum health.


Which Vitamins Deficiency Results in Oral Issues?

The lack of vitamin A, B, C, and D have a significant impact on a patient's oral health involving, impaired tooth formation like enamel hypoplasia,  angular cheilitis, periodontal diseases,  halitosis,  hemorrhagic gingivitis, abnormal bone formation and painful ulcers in the mouth.


Can Gum Disease Be Treated With Vitamin D?

Vitamin D has been proven to have immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, and cell apoptotic properties, which can reduce the risk of gingivitis and chronic periodontitis. Moreover, vitamin D has a crucial role in the metabolism of bones, the prevention of tooth loss, and alveolar bone resorption. It enhances postoperative wound healing following periodontal surgery and decreases gingival inflammation. It also acts as a significant dietary supplement used as prophylaxis in periodontology.


Can Mouth Sores Be Caused by a Vitamin D Deficiency?

Tooth decay, periodontitis, oral cancer, oral candidiasis, oral lichen planus, and recurring aphthous ulcers are manifested with the symptoms of sore mouth and they have all been linked to vitamin D deficiency. Numerous investigations have shown that recurring aphthous ulcer patients have significantly lower serum vitamin D levels than healthy volunteers.


Which Vitamin Promotes Oral Health?

Nutritional deficits can cause tooth loss and inflammatory oral diseases. It follows that getting the correct vitamins from food and supplements can help maintain healthy gums and teeth. The top five vitamins for healthy teeth and gums are vitamins D, C, A, calcium, and phosphorus.


Does a Lack of Vitamins Lead to Tongue Issues?

A tongue that is swollen, painful, or yellow, as well as having teeth indentations and cracks on its surface, are symptoms of B6 or B12 deficiency. On the other hand,
a  lack of iron can cause a swollen tongue and uncomfortable mouth ulcers. Due to the absence of hemoglobin in the blood, the tongue will also seem smooth and pale.


Is Vitamin D Good for Saliva?

In the current study, there was a substantial and positive association between saliva and serum vitamin D levels; in other words, salivary vitamin D levels increased as serum vitamin D levels increased. Most saliva is secreted from the parotid gland, which is an exocrine organ that depends on vitamin D according to earlier studies.


Does Vitamin D Prevent Dry Mouth?

The health of your teeth depends on this vitamin. The body can't properly absorb the levels of calcium it needs for strong bones and teeth without vitamin D. One might want more vitamin D if a person experiences dry mouth, a metallic taste in your mouth, or a burning feeling.


Does Vitamin D Help With Dental Infections?

The quantity of MMPs, an enzyme linked to periodontal disease, can be reduced by vitamin D. Vitamin D receptors are found on the cells in the teeth and immune system. These receptors interact with the vitamin D human bodies and increase the amount of beneficial antimicrobial proteins that the body produces to combat the bacteria that cause periodontal disease and tooth caries. Hence, an adequate vitamin D level lowers the severity of periodontal disease by supporting stronger healthy bone, lowering oral bacterial levels, and promoting stronger enamel with less decalcification


Which Vitamin Turns People’s Mouths Dry?

A malfunction with the salivary glands will infrequently cause dry mouth. A dry mouth can also be brought on by riboflavin or vitamin A deficiencies. Despite the rare frequency of both of these disorders may also be serious conditions treated by physicians.


Can a Lack of Vitamin D Make People Thirstier?

People may have low vitamin D levels in the winter. This is because exposure to direct sunshine while outside causes the body to produce vitamin D. Yet, the illness might also result in extreme thirst. This is because the kidneys have to work harder when there is an excess of calcium. A person may urinate more frequently as a result, which might cause dehydration and increased thirst.
Dr. Geethika. B
Dr. Geethika. B



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