VITAMIN D NEWS
Gum Disease and Vitamin D
The rate of diabetes is still on the rise with one study predicting that by 2050 the number of people under 20 with type 2 diabetes will increase by nearly 50 percent.
While some risk factors are genetic, more are lifestyle based (primarily dietary in nature). However, recent studies have found a new risk factor for type 2 diabetes, which links the disease to vitamin D deficiency and gum disease.
A 2015 study from India found that patients with gum disease (both those with and without type 2 diabetes) had low vitamin D levels. Researchers stated that the low levels of vitamin D “may be due to the diseases’ processes rather than low vitamin D acting as a cause for the disease.” Though they did note that the patients who had periodontitis showed a tendency toward prediabetes.
This study concluded that systemic inflammation in the body, as a response to gum disease, may lead to insulin resistance, and increase the risk of diabetes.
This study has been further confirmed by another from 2018. This study looked at health survey data from the U.S. which confirmed that those people with gum disease, along with low levels of vitamin D, had much higher odds of developing type 2 diabetes.
Given that vitamin D has both anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects, and periodontitis is an inflammatory condition caused by oral microbes, the study concluded that while they were not convinced that vitamin D would prevent diabetes, they felt that having healthy vitamin D levels could at least help prevent gum disease.
That being said, many other studies have found a link between vitamin D deficiency and development of diabetes. Though none would suggest that vitamin D supplementation could reverse it, once developed, it appears that ensuring more than adequate levels of vitamin D can certainly help to prevent diabetes from developing.
With regards to periodontal disease, I have read that flossing our teeth regularly adds as many years to one’s life as regular smoking would take off. Flossing is that important because those microbes found in the teeth, are the same bacteria found in arterial plaque, leading to heart disease.
Therefore, take vitamin D regularly, and floss your teeth, and you can ward off both diabetes and heart disease.