Whether vitamin D deficiency promotes tooth decay in children remains controversial. However, evidence of such a connection seems to be increasing.
A systematic review and meta-analysis as well as an independent cross-sectional study examined whether vitamin D status is associated with the occurrence of early childhood caries and whether an optimal vitamin D level enables caries prevention.
Conflicting results on vitamin D deficiency
The studies on vitamin D deficiency in children and its effects on the risk of caries have so far led to contradictory results, which could be due, among other things, to different methods for determining vitamin D serum levels.
For example, a recent Norwegian study of 101 children found that those with insufficient vitamin D levels had a higher prevalence of tooth decay and a higher number of affected teeth than children with sufficient vitamin D levels.
However, after adjusting the results for other influencing factors such as gender, age, body mass index or the time of year the blood was taken, the experts came to the conclusion that vitamin D status was not significantly associated with caries prevalence, the number of affected teeth and the hypomineralization of the molars.
Early childhood caries due to vitamin D deficiency
A current review, however, comes to a different conclusion based on an evaluation of the studies available to date, which also included observational studies in which children with tooth decay and children without tooth decay were compared with regard to their vitamin D status.
A total of eleven previous studies were included in the new systematic review and ten of them were subjected to a meta-analysis.
The data analysis showed that children with tooth decay had significantly lower vitamin D levels than children without tooth decay. And a subgroup analysis of data from Asia and Europe by geographic region found that children with 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels of 50 to 75 nmol/L were more likely to have tooth decay than children with levels above 75 nmol/L, according to this the team.
Avoid vitamin D deficiency
Despite the contradictory results, there is increasing evidence of a connection between early childhood caries and low vitamin D levels.
The Norwegian research team also pointed out that further large prospective studies with multiple serum vitamin D measurements and oral examinations throughout childhood are now warranted, although they have not yet been able to determine a significant connection. (as)