Dental Decay and Cod Liver Oil
Dental Caries are a Real Problem!
Every week we get emails from customers who are using cod liver oil to improve the dental health of themselves or their kids. Dental caries, also known as tooth decay, is a tooth infection caused by bacteria that leads to a loss of the hard tissues of your teeth. It is one of the most common diseases in the world. In 2010, 55% of Australian 6-year-olds had experienced decay in their baby teeth and 48% of 12-year-olds had experienced decay in their permanent teeth. Dental decay is the most prevalent chronic (and irreversible) disease in New Zealand. In 2009, one in three adults had untreated coronal decay, and one in ten had root decay. 50% of children and adolescents aged 2–17 years also had dental caries
What causes dental caries?
Dental caries are caused by bacteria on the surface of teeth that can turn certain sugars into acids, which can demineralize the hard tissues of your teeth. The bacteria form a sticky layer (plaque), which helps protect the bacteria from being removed by your immune system.
Caries develop when your tooth enamel starts to demineralize by acids secreted by bacteria. Enamel is the thin, highly mineralized coating that makes up the visible part of teeth. The damage caused by the acids then spreads into the dentin, which is the softer tissue underneath the enamel. At this point, the tooth develops a cavity.
Before the cavity forms in the dentin, the process is reversible, but after it spreads to the dentin, it is not. The decay then spreads through the dentin to the layer below, called the pulp. The pulp is the part of the tooth that is made up of living connective tissue and its main purpose is to form dentin.
Frequent snacking, sugary foods, not enough saliva, and lack of tooth brushing and flossing all increase your risk of developing dental caries.
How are dental caries treated?
The treatment of caries involves removing the decay and then filling the space with restorative materials, such as porcelain or gold.
How does cod liver oil reduce the risk of dental caries?
Enamel is the most mineralized substance in the human body. It is made up of mostly calcium and phosphate. Vitamin D is important for increasing the absorption of calcium and phosphate from the food you eat.
Increasing the absorption of calcium and phosphate can improve the strength of your teeth and their ability to fight demineralization from bacteria.
Vitamin D increases the amount of good antimicrobial proteins in your body which help to fight the bacteria that cause dental caries. In addition, vitamin D helps form dentin and enamel in teeth.
Research shows that vitamin D may help reduce the risk of dental caries in infants and younger children. Studies have shown that children with dental caries have lower levels of vitamin D. Mothers of children with dental caries have lower vitamin D levels during pregnancy than mothers whose children don’t have caries
found that taking vitamin D supplements resulted in a 47% reduced rate of dental caries.
While more experiments are needed to know for sure if vitamin D can help to treat dental caries, the theory and evidence are positive.
How should I get my vitamin D?
You can fulfil your vitamin D requirements by getting safe sun exposure and by eating a nutrient rich diet. For most – this is difficult to do, especially as the season is changing.
You have a choice to supplement with artificial supplements or to use nature’s rich source of vitamin D – cod liver oil.
Please see our article on dosage – How much vitamin D do I need?