Dental caries Introduction

 Dental caries (tooth decay) is one of the most prevalent diseases in humans.

Dental caries (tooth decay) is one of the most prevalent diseases in humans. It is the primary source of tooth loss for those under the age of 40 years.

Streptococcus mutans is recognized as the primary cause of the disease. S. mutans strongly adheres to teeth and releases acids by the fermentation of carbohydrates, leading to the demineralization of the tooth.

While eating sweets and not brushing teeth contribute to the formation of dental caries, vitamin D can reduce the risk of caries by inducing production of cathelicidin and defensins, which have antibacterial properties.

In the United States, studies back to 1937 have found that children and adolescents living in sunnier states have fewer dental caries, and a study in 1865 found fewer missing teeth in those living in Kentucky compared to those living in New England.

To reduce the risk of dental caries, it is recommended that serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels be kept at between 30 and 40 ng/mL [75-150 nmol/l].

Page last edited: 08 August 2011