A new study has great news for individuals living in the Sunshine State. According to a recent article from the British Dental Health Foundation, research has found support for a previously established connection between a lack of sunlight and gum disease. The study, published in the journal of Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, vitamin D plays a critical role in the immune system by assisting in the activation of infection fighting cells, boosting the immune response time. The essential nutrient also helps to keep bones and teeth healthy, yet approximately one billion people around the world are estimated to be vitamin D deficient. Fortunately for those who live in sunny climates, just like Florida, the sun provides a large portion of the necessary amount of vitamin D, leading scientists to recommend soaking up some rays for the health benefits.
Gum disease is a swelling and soreness of the supporting tissues around the teeth and is one of the main causes of tooth loss in adults. It is also one of the most common chronic diseases in the world, with nearly half of the population experiencing some form of tooth decay. In addition to the obvious issues that gum disease can cause in your mouth, it has also been linked to several serious health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, pregnancy complications, and dementia. One of the first warning signs of gum disease is the presence of blood when brushing. The first step should always be to visit your dentist if this occurs. If caught early, treatment is simple and accessible, and remedying the problem is likely. If ignored, the condition will only worsen, eventually leading to tooth loss.
Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr. Nigel Carter OBE, stated that “people sometimes feel they are helpless when it comes to preventative measures in regards to gum disease and it is important that they know the basics. While getting a bit of sunshine should not replace your daily oral health routine, like twice daily brushing, it’s a simple addition that could make a positive difference.” Individuals should also be informed that there are dangers from being in the sun too long and take proper precautions when outdoors. The use of appropriate sunscreen and staying well hydrated are always recommended. So, the next time you’re on the fence about taking a walk, or eating your lunch outside, remember that you’re actually improving your health by soaking up some sunshine and head outdoors.