Low Levels of Prenatal Vitamin D Linked to Increased Rate of Cavities in Toddlers

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Researchers have discovered a link between inadequate levels of prenatal vitamin D and increased risk of cavities in toddlers.

Vitamin D is essential for the health of the mother as well the developing fetus.  Vitamin D deficiency before, during and after pregnancy is disastrous for both mothers and infants.  Studies in the past have shown how inadequate levels of vitamins D cause defects in toddlers’ teeth, according to Reuters Health.

“All pregnant and nursing women need to take 4000-5000 (International Units per day) vitamin D3. There are many benefits for pregnancy outcomes including reduced risk of gestational diabetes, respiratory and other infections, premature delivery, pre-eclampsia, adverse effects on the fetus such as birth defects including very possibly autism,” William B. Grant from the Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center in San Francisco, California, told Reuters Health in an email.

The current study, led by a team at the University of Manitoba, found that low levels of Vitamin D lead to higher risk of cavities in toddlers. The main aim of the study was to determine the association between vitamin D concentration and dental caries in offsprings during the first year.

The cohort study included 207 expectant mothers who were in the second or third trimester, most of whom were from the lower socioeconomic backgrounds, with an average age of 19. As a part of the study, the participants reported details about health and habits.  Apart from this, the researchers even collected blood samples to measure the levels of vitamin D.  After delivery, when the infants were around16 months old, they received dental examinations. This dental check up was done on 135 babies.

Questionnaires were given to record details of breast feeding habits, consumption of solid food by infants, health and behavior.

A third of the total participants had extremely low levels of Vitamin D. And 26-36 percent of the toddlers had cavities.

Toddlers with cavities were born to women who had significantly lower levels of prenatal vitamin D, compared to toddlers born without cavities. They identified a strong and direct association between low levels of prenatal vitamin D and cavities in toddlers.

It was not inadequate levels of vitamin D, but also defects in tooth enamel that led to cavities in toddlers. The only way to enhance oral health in offsprings is by boosting prenatal nutrition status.

“Prevention efforts should begin during pregnancy by bolstering maternal nutrition, either through improved dietary intake or supplementation with vitamin D,” researchers said in the study, according to Reuters.

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