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Vitamin D Crucial in Maintaining Healthy Gingiva

Mounting evidence shows that vitamin D is much more valuable than previously realized.

Countless studies are revealing a strong correlation between periodontal diseases and vitamin D deficiency. In a 2020 systematic literature review, researchers in Portugal compared vitamin D levels in periodontitis patients with those exhibiting good periodontal health. They found that the vitamin D levels of patients with chronic periodontal diseases were significantly lower than those of healthy controls.1,2

Another study, conducted in Lithuania, determined that a deficiency in vitamin D can actually increase the risk of developing periodontal diseases. In contrast, healthy levels of the vitamin can decrease the risk of gingivitis and chronic periodontitis, support periodontal health and jawbone density, prevent tooth loss, boost antibacterial capabilities, and promote a healthy immune response.1,3


The Lithuanian researchers concluded that vitamin D plays a significant role in periodontology due to its involvement in synthesizing proteins that are needed to form mucous membrane. This creates a physical barrier against pathogenic infiltration into deeper tissues and activates a nonspecific immune response.3

Vitamin D also reportedly takes part in specific immune response. It suppresses the destructive effect of chronic periodontitis, while also preserving systemic and jawbone density homeostasis.3

In 2022, Italian researchers showed that a vitamin D deficit impairs calcium and phosphate absorption, which can negatively impact bone health. They found that when vitamin D levels are normal, the expression of interleukin-8 and -6 is reduced, decreasing the virulence of Porphyromonas gingivalis.4


The recommended daily dose of vitamin D for babies up to a year old is 400 international units (IU). For everyone else younger than age 70, it’s 600 IU, and 800 IU for people older than age 70. During vitamin D deficiency treatment, dosage may be increased as high as 2,000 IU.

Though vitamin D is contained in many foods and via sun exposure, in some cases, it is still not enough. For many, supplements are the answer, with vitamin D3 providing the biggest boost to serum levels.


So, how effective is the addition of a vitamin D supplement to the oral healthcare regimen? While researchers continue to maintain that more research is necessary before advocating for vitamin D prescriptions for periodontal diseases, the data appear to support this step.

The Portuguese researchers cite several clinical trials investigating the anti-inflammatory effect of vitamin D supplements on gingival tissues administered in various doses. All found beneficial outcomes with appropriate doses of vitamin D.2

The Italian study showed taking an interdisciplinary approach to be beneficial. They employed the help of an endocrinologist to help a patient bring periodontal diseases under control via supplements in addition to other oral therapies.4

There is no question that brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits remain oral health mainstays. But thanks to ongoing research into the impact of vitamin D on gingival health, it appears there is one more important tool to use in the fight against periodontal diseases.


  1. Murray J. Vitamin D supplements can help fight bad breath and prevent gum disease.
  2. Machado V. Lobo S, Proenca L, Mendes JJ, Botelho J. Vitamin D and periodontitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
  3. Jagelavičienė E, Vaitkevičienė I, Šilingaitė D, Šinkūnaitė E; Daugėlaitė G. The relationship between Vitamin D and periodontal pathology.
  4. Figliuzzi MM, Luca P, Domenico A, Simone A. Severe, treatment-refractory periodontitis and vitamin D deficiency: a multidisciplinary case report.
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