Who doesn’t love to catch some sun rays? Well, sunshine lovers, Dr. Chris Murphy and Dr. Lisa Peter Howard at Southern Maine Orthodontics have news for you! A little sunshine actually HELPS your teeth during orthodontic treatment! Sunshine has been found to improve mood, our immune functions, and increases vitamin D production in our bodies.
The Importance of Vitamin D
While in braces, healthy teeth and gums are of vital importance. Vitamin D helps to support oral health in two ways:
- It helps our bodies to absorb and utilize calcium
Vitamin D has several major functions. One of its major functions is moderating other vitamins and minerals – including calcium. Calcium is crucial because it fortifies our teeth and supports jaw and bone strength. Several studies have shown greater cavity risk for people who live in regions with little sunlight – sometimes as much as double the risk.
- It may help fight periodontal disease
Vitamin D is also an anti-inflammatory. Periodontal disease, which is the result of inflammation of the gums due to harmful bacteria, is the #1 cause of tooth loss in adults. Several studies have found that people with high vitamin D levels are less likely to experience bleeding gums and gum detachment.
How to increase your vitamin D levels
It’s not as hard to get your daily dose of vitamin D from the sun as you may think. Increasing and managing your vitamin D levels can be done in two ways: lifestyle and diet.
Often, 30 or so minutes of sun exposure per day is all you need to get started. Keep in mind the following tips for increasing your vitamin D levels with sunlight:
Be sure to keep your face and arms exposed. This helps the body absorb the most vitamin D.
Those who suffer from digestive, immune or liver issues will have a harder time absorbing and converting vitamin D.
Sunlight won’t convert to vitamin D in areas above 37 degrees latitude
If it’s a cloudy day or you live in a region with little sun, be sure to eat foods that keep your vitamin D levels up. Foods that help keep your vitamin D levels up include:
- Egg yolks
- Fatty fish
- Fortified milk & juices
- Organ meats
- Vitamin D supplements
Although it may not seem like getting enough sunlight could have an effect on your orthodontic treatment, it does. By making changes to your lifestyle and diet, you could not only improve your overall health, but your oral health as well. So, go out and soak up a little sun today!
To find out if a lack of vitamin D could be affecting your braces or orthodontic treatment plan, contact our office. Your smile is our priority.