If you're like most parents, you dread going to the dentist and hearing the words, "Your child has a cavity." While you do your best to help your child brush, floss and eat a healthy diet, sometimes even your best efforts fail to prevent tooth decay. So if you're looking for more ways to prevent cavities, you may have thought about -- or even done some research on -- vitamins and the role they play in preventing decay in kids' primary teeth.
Calcium helps to make bones and teeth strong, so it's not a surprise that it would be a vital nutrient for keeping teeth healthy. Interestingly, there are few studies proving the importance of calcium for children's dental health. Those that appear to do so were carried out on children not in developed countries like Canada or the U.S., so there may be other factors that play into the incidence of cavities there.
However, there are studies that show topical application of calcium, such as in a toothpaste combined with certain amino acids, may be beneficial for protecting the teeth.
A recent study on Canadian children ages 6 to 11 assessed what factors contributed to cavities, and found that in addition to lower household education, failure to brush twice a day and failure to visit the dentist regularly, that a low level of vitamin D was a common factor in kids with multiple cavities.
Researchers don't yet have an understanding of why this happens or how to improve the vitamin D levels in kids with cavities. It may be that supplementing or getting more sunlight (which helps the body make vitamin D) can help prevent the number or severity of cavities. If you don't take more than 10,000 IU, supplementing probably isn't harmful, but it's a good idea to check with your doctor and have your children's vitamin D levels checked before giving them large doses.
Vitamin K helps your body move calcium to the right place, where it can be most beneficial to the body, and store it efficiently. So having enough of this trace vitamin can help prevent cavities by strengthening the teeth. There are not many studies that connect vitamin K levels to good oral health, but its impact on controlling heart disease is established.
The bottom line: Good nutrition is vital, but there aren't a lot of studies that prove supplementing with oral calcium, vitamin D or K if your child is not otherwise deficient will make a big impact. However, if your child is getting cavities, and you've eliminated other sources like excess sugar and lack of proper dental hygiene, talk to your dentist about whether supplementing with these nutrients can help improve the health of your kids' teeth.Share