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Many people know that adequate amounts of vitamin D are essential to good bone health, and therefore, strong teeth. Now, a recent study published in the journal Infection and Immunity has indicated that the nutrient may also reduce individuals' risk of developing gum disease.
The researchers explained that vitamin D stimulated the production of a protein antibiotic called TREM-1 in gingival cells. This, in turn, prompted the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines as part of the body's immune response.
The study's results indicated that gingival cells treated with vitamin D naturally killed more bacteria. Since bacteria are the primary cause of oral infections and tooth decay, a heightened ability to destroy these microbes may result in a reduced risk of dental problems, including gum disease.
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, more than 8 percent of U.S. adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have periodontal disease. The condition is the leading cause of tooth loss in this age demographic, the organization notes.
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