Vitamin D is unique, because it’s a nutrient our body can manufacture for itself. All it needs is sunshine. And this is good because it turns out that vitamin D is not just good for growing children, it’s an essential component for dental implant success, and if you are suffering from a vitamin D deficiency, you may have a higher risk for dental implant failure.
The Role of Vitamin D in Dental Implant Success
Vitamin D is crucial for the health of your bones and teeth because it allows our body to absorb calcium, the primary element in both structures. If your body doesn’t have enough vitamin D, it can’t absorb new calcium. Without new calcium, your body can’t make new bones or help maintain your tooth enamel. But it’s worse than that: your body will try to get the calcium it needs from its calcium stores, which are actually your bones. In other words, if you’re not getting enough vitamin D, your body will begin to dismantle your bones.
Since dental implants depend on your body being able to form new bone around the implant, you can see how a lack of vitamin D could result in real trouble.
How much of a difference vitamin D may make for dental implants isn’t known, but animal studies show that it can have a large impact on the integration of titanium implants with bone.
Studies show that if rats have less vitamin D in their diets, titanium implants have less contact with bone. Not only that, but vitamin D can help with groups that typically have difficulty with integrating implants. Vitamin D supplements helped rats with osteoporosis or chronic kidney disease integrate an implant, and vitamin D combined with insulin helped diabetic rats integrate bone implants.
Without vitamin D, rats not only produced less bone, they tended to produce more fragmentary bone.
How to Improve Vitamin D Levels
The unfortunate side of this story is that about 50% of us have insufficient vitamin D. The good news is that it should be easy to get more. The best way is to just spend more time outside. In summer, if you’re wearing a tanktop and shorts, you can get it with just 10 minutes of time in the sun between 10 am and 3pm three times a week. With more clothing and less intense sun such as the fall or winter sun, it takes more time outside.
There are other ways to improve your vitamin D, though. Fatty fish and fortified dairy are two of the most common choices. However, you can also get vitamin D with beef livers and egg yolks. Vegetarian options include mushrooms like portabella and maitake and fortified milk alternatives. If necessary, there are also vitamin D supplements.