Can serum vitamin D cause dental caries or molar incisor hypomineralisation in children?

There is evidence suggesting that serum vitamin D status may be cause dental caries and molar incisor hypomineralization (MIH) in children. A recent cross-sectional study published in BMC Public Health examined the potential association between serum vitamin D status and the prevalence and number of teeth affected by dental caries and MIH.

The study found that children with insufficient vitamin D showed higher proportions of caries (+11.7%), MIH (+8.4%), mean number of teeth affected by MIH (+0.4), and mean caries experience (+0.3).

Another study published in BMC Oral Health conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis, which showed that children with vitamin D deficiency had a 22% higher risk of dental caries than those with normal vitamin D levels.

The risk of dental caries in children with vitamin D deficiency was 28% in deciduous teeth studies, 68% in mixed dentition studies, and 8% in permanent teeth studies.

Vitamin D plays a key role in hard tissue formation, and its deficiency may contribute to the development of dental caries and MIH.

However, more research is needed to establish a definitive link between serum vitamin D status and these oral health issues in children.

About the study and findings

What they did:

  • Measured vitamin D levels in 101 children using a precise method.
  • Checked their teeth for cavities and enamel defects by trained dentists.
  • Considered other factors like age, sex, and weight.

What they found:

  • About 1 in 4 children had cavities, and 1 in 3 had enamel defects.
  • Children with low vitamin D tended to have more cavities and enamel defects, but the difference wasn’t statistically significant.
  • The researchers think this might be because the children overall had low levels of cavities and enamel defects.

Limitations:

  • The study was a snapshot in time, so it can’t prove cause and effect.
  • The number of children was small.
  • The results might not apply to all Norwegian children.

What is serum vitamin D?

Serum vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in bone health, muscle function, and the immune system. It is found in two main forms: vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Vitamin D2 is found in some foods and supplements, while vitamin D3 is produced by the body when exposed to sunlight.

The symptoms of vitamin D deficiency in children can be varied. Some common symptoms include:

Infants:

  • Growth failure
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle weakness
  • Frequent respiratory infections

Children and Teens:

  • Pain in weight-bearing joints like the knees
  • Bone fractures
  • Slow growth
  • Muscle pain
  • Developmental delays.
  • Rickets, which can cause bowed or bent bones, muscle weakness, bone pain, and joint deformities.

General Symptoms include: muscle weakness or cramps, bone pain, and feeling tired or depressed. Severe vitamin D deficiency may also be associated with hypocalcemia, which may cause tetany or seizures

It’s important to note that many people with low vitamin D may not have any symptoms, and the only way to confirm a deficiency is through a blood test conducted by a healthcare professional.

Who is at risk for vitamin D deficiency?

People who are at risk for vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Infants and young children
  • Older adults
  • People with limited sun exposure
  • People with darker skin
  • People who are obese or overweight
  • People with certain medical conditions, such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease.

ALSO READ: Pediatric Sepsis Breakthrough: New Criteria Could Save Countless Children

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