Review of 24 clinical trials; vitamin D helps prevent tooth decay in children

December 07, 2012

A review of 24 clinical trials that included 2,827 children from different countries spanning from the 1920s to the 1980s shows that Vitamin D can help prevent dental caries in children. The trials showed that vitamin D was associated with about a forty-seven percent reduction in the incidence of tooth decay. The review was conducted by Dr. Philippe Hujoel of the University of Washington.

While vitamin D's role in supporting bone health hasn’t been disputed, significant disagreement has historically existed over its role in preventing cavities. The American Medical Association and the U.S. National Research Council concluded around 1950 that vitamin D was beneficial in managing dental caries. The American Dental Association said otherwise -- based on the same evidence. In 1989, the National Research Council, despite new evidence supporting vitamin D's caries-fighting benefits, called the issue "unresolved." To clear this up Dr. Hujoel has performed his extensive review including new data and the old contested data also. The clinical trials he reviewed were conducted in the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Austria, New Zealand and Sweden. Trials were conducted in institutional settings, schools, medical and dental practices, or hospitals.

Dr. Hujoel's findings are no surprise to researchers familiar with past vitamin D studies. According to Dr. Michael Hollick, professor of medicine at the Boston University Medical Center, "the findings from the University of Washington reaffirm the importance of vitamin D for dental health." He said that "children who are vitamin D deficient have poor and delayed teeth eruption and are prone to dental caries.

The results of the comprehensive research review are published online in December 2012 of the journal Nutrition Reviews. Source material is from the University of Washington.