Do vitamin deficiencies cause our teeth to rot?

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By Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D. as it appears in Food matters

Caries and gum diseases are often not considered serious diseases, however, they are an epidemic throughout our society, from the smallest children to the elderly. The research further suggests that the same good nutrition that prevents tooth decay and gum disease can also prevent other diseases.

Dental caries and the pathology of the gums are frequently associated with serious chronic health problems. Multiple independent studies published after 1990 document this. Caries is associated with poor mental health [1-4]. Elderly people with dementia or Alzheimer's disease had an average of 7.8 teeth with fillings, compared to an average of only 2.7 fillings for elderly people without dementia [1]. It is likely that toxic heavy metal mercury, which constitutes half of each amalgam filling, is a contributing factor.

A recent authoritative review showed a clear association between tooth decay and heart disease [5]. More importantly, this same study showed that people with poor oral health, on average, lead shorter lives. The association between tooth decay and diabetes is also a subject of active and ongoing research. [6-8]. The connections between heart disease, diabetes and tooth decay have been suspected for decades. Many of the scientists who drew attention to this have proposed that diets rich in sugar and refined carbohydrates were the common cause of these diseases. [9-15].

Dental diseases, mental illnesses, heart diseases, infectious respiratory diseases and heart diseases are caused, at least in part, by common faults in the metabolism. Such failures are inevitable when there is a deficiency of essential nutrients, particularly vitamins D, C and niacin.

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There is especially strong evidence of a relationship between vitamin D deficiency and caries. Dozens of studies were conducted in the 1930s and 1940s. [16-27]. More than 90% of the studies concluded that supplementation of children with vitamin D prevents cavities. Particularly impressive was a study published in 1941 that showed the preventive effect of "massive" doses of vitamin D [28]. And, however, no subsequent study in the scientific literature suggested the need to track and repeat this work.

Vitamin D deficiency is related to respiratory infections, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other diseases [29]. Evidence of vitamin C was reviewed by Linus Pauling [15], and the evidence of niacin was reviewed by Abram Hoffer [30].

Obtaining vitamins in sufficient doses to help prevent dental disease is safe and easy to achieve. You can get between 5,000 and 15,000 IU of vitamin D from moderate exposure to sunlight in the middle of the day. Recommending that people regularly use their skin's ability to produce vitamin D is common sense. Certainly, 1,000 to 2,000 IU per day of vitamin D in complementary form are safe. 2,000 milligrams per day of vitamin C, and hundreds of milligrams per day of niacin, help prevent problems with the teeth and mouth. Sick individuals, and those who are prone to tooth decay, will generally benefit from starting with higher doses of vitamin D, vitamin C, and niacin under the supervision of an orthomolecular doctor.

We believe that people who take these nutrients, along with good dental care, will have much less tooth decay and gum operations than people who receive good dental care. This idea can be easily tested and the time has come to do so.

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